Research

I am an evolutionary biologist with a background on ecology and genomics. During the last few years I have developed an interest in Evolution in Islands and in using Genomic tools to understand these.

Island Evolution - Tetragnatha

I have been working with the Hawai’ian Tetragnatha adaptive radiation’i together with Professor Rosemary Gillespie at Berkeley. These spiders have repeatedly evolved four ecomorphs in different islands (“green”, which sits on leaves; “maroon”, which is mostly on moss; “small brown”, among twigs; and “large brown”, on tree bark). Basically, an ecomorph “jumps” to a new island and re-evolves the remaining ecomorphs, as Hawai’ian Islands are created by volcanic activity. Our goal is to determine areas on the genome responsible responsible for the adaptation of the ecomorphs to different environments.

Island Evolution - Sparrows

This project is pretty fresh. I am seeking funding, together with Dr. Mark Ravinet at Nottingham to work on biogeography and adaptation of Cape Verde endemic Sparrows. We’re still working out the funding!

Genomics

I’m interested in genomics, that is studying whole genomes of organisms. I’m currently sitting on some projects on population genomics of Cichlid fishes, Genomes of Spiders and genetics of Norwegian Bowhead Whales. Unfortunately, genomics projects take some time to get moving.. so hopefully sooner than later I’ll have more to talk about!

Cryptic species

Cryptic species are morphologically similar species. I did my PhD with Torsten H. Struck in Oslo, where we investigated the lineage history of species which have been morphologically identical for >100 million years! It is a pretty cool topic! You can see our lengthy review here, as well as where we describe some new species, and where we suggest a pattern of deceleration of morphological evolution!

Collaborators

My approach to research consists in mobility and collaboration, benefiting from the direct expertise of leaders in different research fields, thus increasing the quality of my work and publications. This approach is highly cooperative, and is grounded on two ideas: “two brains think better than one” and “if you have worked in a topic for longer than I, it’s likely that you have something to say about my ideas, result or approach”. My work would thus not be possible without the knowledge, support, kindness and patience of multiple individuals. Here are some people who are collaborators of mine (alphabetically by last name):