Fábio Sousa (CIBIO-InBIO) | June 19, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Room B, Campus de Vairão




The Sahara-Sahel is composed of the mosaic of habitats, mountains, seasonal rivers, sandy and rocky areas, that can define both species distribution and within species genetic diversity. Species have long coped with Sahara-Sahel climate changes by adapting to new conditions and seeking refugia in suitable patchy areas, such as mountains. These events can be traced by reconstructing species history with molecular data and by climate modelling, extrapolating present niche characteristics to the past.
Felovia vae (Lastaste, 1886) belong to North African endemic rodent family, Ctenodactylidae, which members inhabit exclusively mountain areas restricted to Sahara desert. The ecological discontinuities between mountains are likely barriers limiting dispersal of individuals that influence species history and might have promoted diversification in the face of the fluctuating climate of Sahara.
This study will reconstruct phylogenetic relationship between all Ctenodactylidae family based on molecular analyses of non-invasive (museum and faeces) samples. More detailed phylogeographic analyses will be performed on Felovia vae, in order to see if species evolutionary history and ecological parameters are related to climate shifts.


Fábio Sousa graduated in Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP), and has been enrolled in the Master in Biodiversity, Genetic and Evolution, also at CIBIO-InBIO/FCUP, since 2013. During part of his 1st year, through the ERASMUS program, Fábio went to BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences) in Vienna, Austria, in order to improve his knowledge on wildlife ecology and management. He is a member of the BIODESERTS group at CIBIO-InBIO and he is currently under the supervision of Dr. José Carlos Brito (CIBIO-InBIO) and Zbyszek Boratyński (CIBIO-InBIO).


Image credits: Fábio Sousa