Former PhD student (FPU) in our group
My main research interests lie on the realm of biogeography and phylogeography: I’m particularly interested in the patterns of species diversification and adaptation in a geographically explicit context.
The different chapters of my PhD thesis dealt with the environmental determinants of parasite diversity. Parasites, among other pathogens, are one of the main drivers of natural selection, but their effects are not homogeneously distributed in a geographical framework. Using as study models the blackcap Sylvia atricapilla and its associated avian haemosporidian parasites (blood parasites of the genera Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon), I analysed which environmental factors (both related to climate and to habitat structure) determined parasite diversity in the Iberian Peninsula. Taking this information into account, I studied as well how global change is expected to alter the distribution of parasite diversity in the future. I did also explore which characteristic traits display the parasite communities of the blackcaps that inhabit the archipelagos of Madeira and the Canary Islands; as well as which is the role of host migratory movements on determining parasite diversity.
In parallel to my main PhD research, I’ve collaborated on several projects of my research group, such as:
Examining mutualistic interactions between birds and feather mites: factors promoting/compromising coexistence among several mite species, genetic structuring of mite populations…
Characterization of blood parasites of poorly sampled bird groups, including raptors and gamefowl.
Study the linkage between phenotypical traits (morphology and colouration) and genetics in divergent or isolated populations of lizards and gamebirds.