Presentation and History

The Graduate Program in Systematics, Animal Taxonomy, and Biodiversity of MZUSP began its activities in 2011, although MZUSP has played a major role training generations of zoologists since the mid 1970s, when MZUSP researchers were among the faculty of the first Graduate Programs in the country. Throughout the history of MZUSP, about 500 graduates have completed their Dissertations and Theses under the supervision of the house professors. The idea of founding our own Program has always been one of our predecessors’ main wishes. This achievement allowed the MZUSP’s mission to accomplish, within itself, the training of specialists in certain groups of organisms through the study of biodiversity and its evolutionary patterns, with ramifications in areas such as evolution, taxonomy, and phylogenetic reconstruction. Since the Program is inserted in a Museum of Natural History, and most of its faculty is composed of scientific collections’ curators, here the students acquire solid training in research based on collections and curatorship, in addition to being highly trained to act in the areas of Systematics, Taxonomy, and Biodiversity.

The Graduate Program in Systematics, Animal Taxonomy, and Biodiversity of MZUSP brings together professors and students who develop research related mainly to taxonomy, phylogeny, biological classification, evolution, coevolution, biogeography, philogeography, and comparative biology of different strains of living animals and fossils. 

The research projects developed in the Program cover several groups of invertebrates and vertebrates that inhabit different biomes and environments, with special emphasis on Neotropical fauna. Project and research topics often combine classical components of zoology, such as the analysis of morphological and natural history data, with more modern tools, including molecular data and sophisticated computer analyses. Many studies address patterns of taxons’ geographic distribution, including tools for phylogeography and biogeography analysis. Theoretical studies on phylogenetic inference and evolutionary patterns, comparative biology, history and teaching of evolutionary thinking, as well as their narratives in natural history museums, are also part of the topics addressed in our Program.

The Program reinforces the recognition of MZUSP as a center of excellence in the training of research professors and, in this way, continuously attracts a large number of students from many Brazilian states and other countries. 

In 2019, the program had 17 Permanent Professors (90%), 41% of them exclusive, and 2 Collaborating Professors (10%). In 2019, our Permanent Center had 11 productivity fellows in CNPq’s Research (64.7% of PC), 13 researchers with H index (Scopus base) greater than or equal to 10 (76.4% of PC) and 5 with index greater than or equal to 15 (29.4%). Together, the PC faculty received 3,701 citations in 2019 (average of 218 citations per faculty member) and almost 16,000 in the last five years (average 941.17).