Evolutionary Ecology - EE

Evolutionary Ecology - EE

Local adaptation in Drosophila

The ‘Local Adaptation in Drosophila’ Group includes four senior researchers (integrated members), one holding an academic position (PI of the group), two PhD students and two master students.

The research projects pursued by the ‘Local Adaptation in Drosophila’ Group focus on complementary research areas in Evolutionary Biology, with the ultimate goal of better understanding: i) the genetic basis of adaptation, ii) the evolutionary potential of populations, including the role of history and chance; iii) the evolution of chromosomal inversions; iv) the ecological-evolutionary importance of mate- choice copying. The Group’s experimental research activity uses mainly (but not only) Experimental Evolution as tool and Drosophila subobscura as model organism.

Present main topics addressed are:

1) To understand the genomic and transcriptomic changes during adaptation to new environments;

2) To clarify the role of History, Chance and Selection during Adaptive Evolution;

3) To analyse how predictable is evolution in both space (across populations) and time (different times of sampling, short versus long-term adaptation)

4) To analyse the evolutionary potential of populations to respond to global warming

5) To understand the evolution of latitudinal clines, including inversion polymorphisms;

6) To characterize the interaction between genetic drift and selection as a function of population size;

7) To study the conditions under which social learning in general, and mate-choice copying in particular, is adaptive and how it may affect hybridization and speciation.

The main present focus of our wet-lab research is the study of how populations adapt to global warming, within a FCT financed project, ADAPTCLIMWARM.

In addition one researcher (Filipa Vala) is implementing an ‘Evolutionary Studies Program’ (EvoS) at the University of Lisbon and developing a research project that uses multilevel selection theory to explain rationality (or the lack there of) in human economic behaviour.