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Evolutionary Ecology - EE
Local adaptation in Drosophila

Susana Araújo Marreiro Varela

Assistant Professor (Invited)

I received a Ph.D. in Biology from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI) in 2007. The official title is “Diplôme de Docteur”, the subject area “Diversité du Vivant” and my specialty is Behavioural Ecology. I am currently working in the team “Local Adaptation in Drosophila” of the Evolutionary Ecology research group of cE3c under the supervision of Margarida Matos. I am a Researcher and an Invited Professor at the Department of Animal Biology of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, where I teachAnimal Behaviour.

I carry out research on animal communication and learning. I use an information-driven approach to Animal Behaviour and Evolution to study animal decision-making during mate, food and habitat decisions. I am interested in studying how, in what circumstances and with what consequences animals use the information that they acquire from other individuals (social information), compared to their use of other types of information, like their natural preferences (genetic information) and personal experience (personal information). 

My research is driven by three overarching objectives: 1) ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR: the study of the biological and ecological conditions under which the use of social information is adaptive and how can it impact species evolution; 2) BEHAVIOURAL NEUROBIOLOGY: the study of the underlying cognitive mechanisms by which animals acquire and use social information in different contexts; and 3) CONSERVATION BEHAVIOUR: the study of social information use in contexts that could be relevant to conservation problems.

To address these goals, I use experimental, theoretical and conceptual approaches, using fruit flies, spider mites, Poeciliid fish, birds, mice, primates and marine gastropods as model organisms.

The main ongoing project I am currently pursuing is the study of mate-choice copying in Drosophila subobscura and how it affects hybridization rates in laboratory populations derived from the extremes of the species European latitudinal cline.

I am collaborating with several colleagues, in particular with Margarida Matos (cE3c), Sara Magalhães (cE3c), Mauro Santos (Univ. Autonoma Barcelona), Ingo Schlupp (Univ. Oklahoma, USA), Hanna Kokko (Univ. Zurich, Switzerland), Anne Magurran and Andy Gardner (Univ. St. Andrews, Scotland, UK), Étienne Danchin (Univ. Toulouse, France) and Luís Vicente (CESAM and CFCUL, Lisboa, Portugal). These collaborations involve publications, as well as co-supervisions of MSc and PhD students.

For more information on my research and on past and current collaborations see: