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Evolutionary Ecology - EE
Subgroup Leader of Local adaptation in Drosophila

Margarida Maria Demony de Carneiro Pacheco de Matos

Associate Professor

Experimental evolution Historical contingencies Predictability of evolution Laboratory adaptation Genome-wide evolution Evolution of chromosomal inversions

I received a Ph.D. in Biology (Genetics) from the University of Lisbon in 1997 and I am currently leading the team ‘Local Adaptation in Drosophila’ of the Evolutionary Ecology research group of cE3c. I am an associate professor at the Department of Animal Biology of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, where I teach Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Evolution. My research focuses on the understanding of the genetic basis of adaptation and the characterization of the evolutionary patterns and processes underlying local adaptation. Using experimental evolution as tools and Drosophila subobscura as model organism I have been for many years involved in real-time evolution studies using the laboratory as a novel environment to which populations may adapt.

My current research is driven by three overarching objectives: 1) Clarifying the role of History, Chance and Selection during Adaptive Evolution; 2) Understanding the evolution of latitudinal clines; 3) Characterizing the interaction between genetic drift and selection as a function of population size.

The main ongoing project pursued in my laboratory involves the analysis of evolutionary changes of Drosophila subobscura populations founded from contrasting latitudes in a wide range of phenotypic traits (life-histories, morphological, physiological, mating behaviour), chromosomal inversions, genomic and transcriptomic patterns during laboratory adaptation. In future this main line of research will involve the study of thermal adaptation and how the response differs as a function of previous history, an FCT project led by Pedro Simões.

I also collaborate with colleagues tackling other evolutionary questions and using other tools and model organisms: In particular I am Co-PI in the FCT project ‘Host-microbe interactions and the evolution of aging’ involving experimental evolution in C. elegans (led by Ivo Chelo) and collaborate in an FCT project that studies the genetic architecture for social learning neural circuits using lines of the Drosophila reference panel (led by Susana Varela).

I have long-term collaborations with several colleagues working abroad on a range of topics in Evolutionary Genetics, Evolutionary Ecology and Experimental Evolution: in particular Mauro Santos (Univ. Autonoma Barcelona), Marta Pascual (Univ Barcelona) and Michael R. Rose (Univ California Irvine). These collaborations have resulted in several publications throughout the years as well as co-supervisions of PhD students, funded programmes (Portuguese-Spanish) and research networks (ESF ‘ThermAdapt’).

I am Associate Editor in the Journal Evolution and belong to the editorial boards of the journals Frontiers in Genetics (Evolutionary and Population Genetics; Genetics of Aging) and Journal of Genetics.


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