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Molecular Ecology and Evolution
Evolutionary Genetics - EG

Mónica C. Silva

Post-Doc Researcher

I received my Ph.D. in Zoology by the University of Washington, USA, in 2004, and I am currently working in the Evolutionary Genetics group of cE3c (University of Lisbon) as a post-doctoral researcher. My research on Evolutionary genetics focuses on a) understanding how neutral and selected genetic variation, at the scale of genes and also genome-wide, is generated and maintained in natural populations, and what it can tell us about historical processes and mechanisms leading to divergence and speciation, b) understanding the interaction of forces guiding the evolution of multi-gene families, such as Major Histocompatibility and Olfactory Receptor familes.

In my research I have been using as models avian systems, and particularly pelagic seabirds (order Procellariiformes), which gave me the opportunity to visit amazing islands around the world.

Currently my research goals include: 1) investigate the mechanisms driving population divergence and speciation of highly mobile, but philopatric, marine taxa, using neutral and non-neutral markers, and the properties of the coalescent; 2) characterize olfactory receptor genes in Cory’s Shearwater and other Procellariiformes using Next Generation Sequencing, and investigate the evolutionary dynamics of the isolated genes, namely how they are maintained and diversify. More recently, I have been also interested in 3) investigate the population genomics of seabird species with sympatric but allochronic populations pairs showing clinal levels of genetic divergence; 3) identify environmental-driven selection pressures that may explain patterns of ecological speciation in sympatric populations and species.