Francesco Belluardo (CIBIO-InBIO/UP) March 16, 2018 – 15h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Madagascar is one of the world's top 12 megadiversity hot spots. Most of its present-day biota colonized the island after the separation from all other landmasses, giving rise to several unique radiations. In my Ph.D. project I will investigate different aspects of the evolution of this impressive biodiversity with a particular focus on amphibian and reptile species. I will specifically reconstruct the colonization history of four megafauna species that went extinct after human being's colonization of the island. I will infer new phylogenetic and diversification hypotheses for three herpetofauna radiations. I will perform a population genomic study on microendemic species of amphibians and reptiles from different areas to investigate the potential impact of human being's presence in shaping their narrow-ranging distributions. This study, in combination with a biogeographic analysis of a portion of Madagascar’s biota (including some vertebrates, invertebrates and plant groups), will allow us to identify the geographic areas as well as the micro- and macro-evolutionary processes that contributed to present-day diversity. Finally, I will contribute to uncover and characterize the herpetological diversity of the almost unexplored area of the Andringitra Massif (South-east Madagascar) and compare the results with an analogous project currently ongoing in Mozambique.

Francesco Belluardo holds a Master’s Degree in Nature Sciences from Milan State University (Italy). He is currently enrolled in the second year of the BIODIV Doctoral Programme at CIBIO-InBIO and University of Porto, under the supervision of Ph.D. Angelica Crottini (Biogeography and Evolution group) and co-supervision of Prof. Alexandre Antonelli (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Ph.D. Elisabetta Cilli (University of Bologna, Italy). His Ph.D. project is focussed on the investigation of different aspects of the evolution of Madagascar’s biodiversity.

[Host: Angelica Crottini, Biogeography and Evolution]

Image credits: Google Earth