This thrust area was directed by Dr. Riccardo Papa from the Department of Biology, UPR-Rio Piedras will be the MEEG thrust area leader. Dr. Riccardo Papa, assistant professor, was hired as part of CATEC’s strategy to reinforce the molecular genetics and evolution area of the department of Biology. The Molecular Ecology, Evolution and Genetics (MEEG) area will address conservation issues using molecular markers to understand the phylogeny, the spatial distribution of genetic diversity, and species interactions in the Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.