Mafalda Sousa Ferreira (CONGEN, CIBIO-InBIO/UP) | July 7, 2017 - 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Determining the mechanisms by which organisms adapt to contrasting environments is crucial to answer fundamental questions on evolutionary biology. For instance, what is the relative contribution of new mutations, standing genetic variation or introgressive hybridization during speciation and adaptation? Also, are the same or different molecular solutions adopted when organisms adapt to similar environments? Hares have radiated recently, colonizing all major ecosystems in the world. They are thus a great system to study the mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation. I will show how I plan to use phylogenomics to study the evolutionary history of the genus Lepus. inferring the contribution of selection in adaption to specific environments and the underpinnings of convergent molecular evolution. For instance, we hope to understand how many times seasonal coat color alternation, an adaptation of artic and boreal species, has evolved in Lepus. Furthermore, I will present a population level study where we will use the white-tailed jackrabbit (L. townsendii) to study the genetic underpinnings of seasonal coat color change at the species level.

Mafalda Sousa Ferreira is graduated in Biology and holds a MSc in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto. Currently, Mafalda is a second year PhD Student at the BIODIV program at the University of Porto, supervised by Dr. José Melo-Ferreira (CIBIO-InBIO) and Prof. Jeffrey Good (University of Montana) and is part of the CONGEN group at CIBIO-InBIO. Her interests focus on adaptation genetics and evolution. Specifically, Mafalda’s research focus on the genetics basis of seasonal coat color change in several boreal hare species. With a better understanding of its genetic basis and evolutionary history among mammals, she aims to assess the adaptive capacity of this trait in changing environments.

[Host: José Melo-Ferreira, Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Management]


Image credits: Mafalda S. Ferreira, Specimens from the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum, University of Montana