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The genetic structure in populations of marine gastropods in oceanic islands: contrasting evolutionary and biogeographic patterns

AIR Centre PhD grants are aimed at applicants enrolled or that comply with the requirements to enroll for PhD related studies and who wish to carry out research towards this degree. Preference will be given to candidates with a MSc. degree in Biology, and with a strong background on Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution. Scientific Publications on these topics and fieldwork experience in oceanic islands are a plus.

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Summary of the work plan
The “Azorean Biogeographical Paradox” operating in marine taxa of the Azores poses
interesting questions regarding the colonization routes for these islands and connectivity between Azorean and related populations in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. To better understand the biogeographical and evolutionary patterns of marine invertebrates in the Azores, we hereby propose a population genetics and phylogeographic approach for three shallow-water gastropod species naturally occurring in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, all with a planktotrophic mode of larval development: Bittium nanum, an endemic species from the Azores with a putative European ancestral; Tectarius striatus, with a geographical distribution restricted to the Macaronesian archipelagos; and Melarhaphe neritoides, with a wide geographical distribution in the NE Atlantic. This study aims to enlighten the diversity and population structure of these species and factors shaping it, to clarify their evolution in remote oceanic islands and to understand the possible role of seamounts, ocean-currents and periodic climatic changes in the long-distance dispersal/invasion process of the archipelago. The results will valuably contribute to increase the current knowledge in the Azorean biodiversity and provide crucial information to address the effects of climatic changes in islands.

Name(s) of supervisor(s)
Sérgio P. Ávila (CIBIO-InBIO, Pólo dos Açores); António M. Santos (CIBIO-
InBIO; FCUP); Manuel Curto (INF-BÖKU).

Name(s) of host institution(s)
Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP, Porto); CIBIO
Research Centre InBIO Associate Laboratory – Campus de Vairão (CIBIO-InBIO,
Porto); CIBIO Research Center InBIO Associate Laboratory – Azores Pole (CIBIO-
Azores, Ponta Delgada); Institute for Integrative Nature Conservation Research of the
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (INF-BÖKU, Vienna)..

Identification of PhD program
The Doctoral Degree in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution – BIODIV – is a 4 years programme offered jointly by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon.

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