Bruno Vaz da Silva | October 2, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




The moist forests from the highland centres of Africa constitute a fascinating example of ecological islands. This is particularly evident in the bird communities –Afromontane centres thousands of kilometres apart share species that are not found in the habitats immediately adjoining the forests. A comparative phylogeographic approach was used to infer the role of the Angolan highland forests within the biogeographic history of African montane areas. This allowed, for the first time, to develop molecular-based models of the historical links between all major highland centres in Africa. Species distribution models were used to model the distribution changes from the start of the last glacial period (130,000 ya) to the present – allowing the identification of the most stable areas (refuges) and the most common corridors between currently isolated forest centres. Angola played a fundamental role both as an ancient, stable, refuge from where isolated species could recolonize other centres during favourable climatic periods, and as a stepping-stone connecting the East Africa and the Cameroon Centres.


Bruno Vaz da Silva concluded his Degree in Biochemistry in 2012 at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, and with Evolutionary and Molecular Biology as his main fields of interest he decided to apply for the Masters in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution at CIBIO-InBIO, in which he is enrolled since 2013. Bruno is currently developing his MSc thesis focused on the evolutionary history of the birds of the Angolan highlands, under the supervision of Martim Melo and Ricardo Jorge Lopes.


Image credits: Martim Melo