Today is a very sad day. After a long illness, our colleague Ignacio Ribera, principal investigator of the Water and Cave Beetle Evolution Lab and co-advisor of Pau, has left us. Ignacio was a great scientist and a great person, always ready to help and to share his ample knowledge. It is a painful loss both for family and friends, and for all of us.
Ignacio Ribera was a truly outstanding specialist in water and cave beetles. He devoted much of his research to the taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography and evolutionary biology of these groups. In the last years, he also wanted to explore the genomic basis of adaptation to life in water and caves in these beetle lineages. So last year, a few months before I joined IBE, we started to collaborate, first by advicing Pau together in his PhD thesis to unravel the genetic underpinnings of adaptation to subterranean habitats in the Leptodirini tribe, and then by applying together for some funding to understand how Dytiscidae beetles conquered back aquatic niches, in the context of a larger project aiming at interrogating terrestrialization in arthropods.
Just a few days ago, we exchanged emails to discuss science, and we were about to send him the draft of the first paper of Pau´s thesis, which will be ready very soon. Our best tribute to him is now to continue with these projects with the same genuine rigour and scientific curiosity as he would have done it.
We will miss him dearly. Que la tierra te sea leve, amigo.
Blog cover image from: Ribera et al. (2010). Ancient origin of a Western Mediterranean radiation of subterranean beetles. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10, 29. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-10-29