Diversity of Fishes
A Systematic Study of the Big-eyed Armored Catfish Hypoptopoma, by Dr. Adriana Aquino
Objective 1
Test the Monophyly
Objective 2
Revision of the Genus (Week 5)
Objective 3
Phylogenetic Analysis (Week 5)
Objective 4
Biogeographic Analysis (Week 5)
(Week 5)

The Study
This study is derived from my own work on systematics. It focuses on the taxonomic revision, phylogeny, and biogeography of the genus Hypoptopoma,the big-eyed armored catfish. It's my intention to give you an insight into the way systematists carry out an investigation.


A Note on Scientific Research
As a graduate student, I discussed my potential project with more experienced colleagues and advisors. They challenged my ideas, asked me questions, suggested reading - and at times rolled their eyes and shook their heads. In this way, I learned how to ask good questions and how to assess the feasibility of the project in terms of resources and time.

Good questions in science are complex: They must be ones that have not yet been answered but at the same time are the kind that CAN be answered (i.e. they are testable). Thus, the student scientist learns how to choose significant topics to research.

This reflects my own experience with Hypoptopoma:I had been working with this genus of fish and its kin for a few years, so I knew that there were still questions about it that I could try to solve.

Let's start by identifying the main objectives of the project in relation to the variables we discussed in last week's lesson on systematics.

Objectives of the Study  
1. Test the Monophyly of Hypoptopoma FORM + TIME
2. Revision of the Genus HypoptopomaFORM
3. Phylogenetic Analysis of the GenusTIME
4. Biogeographic AnalysisSPACE

As we learned in the previous lesson on systematics, the three variables of form, time, and space are fundamental to all works in systematics.

Now let's put this into practice by looking at how I approach the particular case of Hypoptopoma by considering objective 1.

Next week we'll look at objectives 2-4 and the conclusion.

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