Klaus-Peter Koepfli (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Washington, D.C.) | December 2, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Three species of within the Canidae (Carnivora, Mammalia) are referred to as “jackals”: black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), golden jackal (Canis aureus) and side-striped jackal (Canis adustus). These species have been little studied with regards to their population genetic structure despite having widespread distributions across a variety of habitats. Golden jackals are distributed throughout Africa and Eurasia and these populations have long been considered conspecific. In contrast, black-backed jackals are separated into two disjunct populations within sub-Saharan Africa, but are considered conspecific subspecies. In this seminar, I will present evidence from molecular markers drawn from throughout the genome that provide consistent evidence that populations of golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia and black-backed jackals from two populations within Africa represent distinct and independent evolutionary lineages and thus distinct species. I will also discuss new research initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution designed to advance the field of biodiversity genomics, with the goal of using genomics to understand and sustain our biodiverse planet.


Klaus-Peter Koepfli is a Visiting Scientist and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics at St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia. His primary research interests are in the fields of conservation and evolutionary genomics. As part of the Genome 10K project, he and a team of international collaborators are working towards sequencing and analyzing genomes across the vertebrate tree of life.


[Host: Raquel Godinho, Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Management]


Image credits: Eyal Cohen