Anamarija Žagar (CIBIO-InBIO/UP) | April 15, 2016 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Biotic interactions are known to be key factors influencing the community structure. Thus the understanding of mechanisms of interspecific competition between ecologically similar sympatric species is crucial when we aim to realize what will be the impact of future climate changes on their distribution. We used two model organisms: the Horvath's rock lizard (Iberolacerta horvathi (Méhely, 1904)) and the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis Laurenti, 1768) to improve the understanding of interspecific competitive mechanisms and define which species' fundamental niche characteristics could potentially influence their interaction. We compared their physiological, morphological and ecological traits (species' fundamental niches) and their realised niches in in three social contexts: alone, conspecific or heteropecific situation. Main results showed that studied species exhibit a combination of similarities and dissimilarities in most of studied traits. Species probably interact when in syntopy but at the same time avoid competition with fine-scale segregations. Obtained results enabled us to better understand the current pattern of coexistence and segregation in these species and will be the basis for constructing predictive models of future climate change impacts on both species while considering their interaction.


Anamarija Žagar is a PhD student (FCT doctoral grant) under the supervision of dr. Miguel A. Carretero and a member of the group of Applied phylogenetics at CIBIO. Her main scientific areas of interest are animal ecology with the emphasis on species interactions with ecological questions derived from species biogeography. Her PhD project is interdisciplinary, working in fields of eco-physiology, morphology and behavioural ecology to elucidate the mechanism of interspecific interactions. Specifically her study focused on the study of competition between species tandems from genera of lizards (Podarcis and Iberolacerta) in Slovenia and Portugal. During her PhD she has presented her results at several international conferences, published six IF articles included as chapters in her PhD dissertation and successfully applied for two grants that complemented her PhD project (the Journal of Experimental Biology travel Fellowship and UNESCO L'Oreal grant for Women in Science in Slovenia).


Image credits: Miha Krofel