Joana Rocha (BIODESERTS, CIBIO-InBIO/UP) | June 16, 2017 - 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Designated as the driest and hottest environments on the planet, deserts are unrivalled natural laboratories for studying the evolution of remarkable adaptive traits and species. Which genes/changes underlie desert adaptation? How are adaptive changes related to phenotype? Are the same genes/changes responsible for similar adaptations to arid environments across species? In this talk I will explain my PhD proposal, which aims to address the genomic architecture underlying fast evolutionary adaptation in deserts by focusing on the recent divergence between the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the Rueppell’s fox (V. rueppellii), a species adapted to the arid regions of the largest desert in the world, the Sahara. Additionally, we propose to investigate the possibility of parallel evolution among more distantly related and long-diverged desert-dwelling fox species, the Fennec (V. zerda) and the Pale fox (V. pallida).

Currently, Joana Rocha is a first year PhD student at CIBIO-InBIO working under the supervision of Dr. Raquel Godinho. Joana’s research is focused on the mechanisms driving adaptation and evolution in natural populations. During her PhD, she will apply an integrative approach that combines evolutionary histories, molecular population genetics and physiological data with cutting edge genomic tools to assess the relative roles of demography and natural selection in the evolution of North African desert-dwelling fox species.


[Host: Raquel Godinho, Biodiversity of Deserts and Arid Regions]


Image credits: Joana Rocha