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Ph.D. David Peris
Current position

Researcher at the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (CSIC) (2024 - ...), Spain. Ramón y Cajal fellow.

Previous positions/career
  • Postdoctoral researcher at the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (CSIC) (20223 - 2024), Spain.

  • Postdoc researcher at the Universitat de Barcelona (2021- 2023), Spain. 

  • Postdoc researcher at the Geological Institute (2018-2021), University of Bonn (Germany).

  • Postdoc researcher at the Departament de Ciències Agràries i del Medi Natural (2016-2018), Universitat Jaume I de Castellón de la Plana (Spain).

  • PhD in Earth Sciences (2011-2015), University of Barcelona – "Paleobiología de los escarabajos (Insecta: Coleoptera) de los ámbares cretácicos del oeste europeo" // "Paleobiology of beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) from western European Cretaceous ambers". 

  • MSc in High School Teacher Formation (2010-2011), University of Barcelona (Spain).   

  • MSc in Evolutionary Biology (2009-2010), University Complutense of Madrid / Autonomous University of Madrid – “Estudio de las especies de ácaros subfósiles y reconstrucción de micropaleoambientes en el yacimiento Camino de las Yeseras (San Fernando de Henares, Madrid)” // “Study of the subfossil mite species and micropalaeoambient reconstruction from the Camino de las Yeseras site (San Fernando de Henares, Madrid)”.

  • BSc in Biology (2004-09) with a concentration in Organisms and Systems, University of Valencia.


All topics concerning the “amber world” are of interest to me. After locating, extracting, handling and preparing the amber pieces with fossil content, my research is focused on Early Cretaceous beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera), not only their systematic study but also assessing their paleoecology and paleoethology. This can be achieved thanks to the wonderful ability of the amber record to capture portions of the past ecosystems and preserving them to present days with little alteration. When possible, I also perform phylogenetic studies to infer the evolutionary patters of certain groups of beetles. Although my research primarily focuses on the study of all the Coleopteran groups embedded in Spanish amber, it is also aimed at exploring the beetle diversity from other Cretaceous ambers worldwide such as French, New Jersey or Myanmar ambers.

MSc and PhD research

In my MSc research I was involved in a project about archaeoacarology. Based on some studies from the 60s about using insect remains to extract conclusions related to anthropological settlements and their environment, in the 90s the concept was also explored through the study of mite remains (Acari). Mites have a good archaeological potential because they are morphologically stable, certain species live in a very restrictive range of conditions, they have poor dispersal abilities, and their chitinous exoskeleton allows them to be preserved in the sediment for several thousands of years. This research was the first approach to the Calcolithic microenvironments of the “Camino de las Yeseras” outcrop (San Fernando de Henares, Spain), in which a third millennium BC occupation was documented.



My PhD research was aimed at identifying, describing, and discussing the most relevant paleobiological characteristics of the beetles (Coleoptera) preserved in Early Cretaceous Spanish and French ambers. Why study beetles in amber?


  • Coleopterans comprise about 25% of all Recent described animal and plant species in the world, making them the primary contributor to Earth’s biodiversity, with approximately 380,000 described species.


  • Coleoptera is one of the best represented insect groups in Spanish amber and others worldwide, although only a low portion of them have been taxonomically studied so far.


  • These studies are contributing to increase the information about the ancient ecosystems.


  • These studies are contributing to increase the knowledge on the phylogeny of extant basal beetle groups, as many families have in Cretaceous ambers their most ancient fossil record known.


  • Early Cretaceous beetles correspond to the intermediate fauna between “older” (or Jurassic) types and “modern” ones; this change, among other factors, could be related to the radiation of flowering plants (angiosperms) during this time and the associated biotic changes.


  • In modern ecosystems there is a high beetle diversity related to the pollination of flowering plants. Therefore, the radiation and early evolution of flowering plants might have been partially explained by their interaction with beetles through time.

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