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Biogeography and Evolution - BIOEVOL

We are a small but dynamic team of young researchers with a wide network of international collaborations. We work closely together, maintain regular meetings and use a project management platform to monitor the progresses of research projects, and to develop our publication and fundraising strategies. We are interested in understanding biogeographic and evolutionary processes using the herpetofauna of Madagascar as a model system, and to use this knowledge to inform conservation action. We use traditional collection-based approaches, molecular phylogenetics and phylogenomics, population genetic and genomics, molecular taxonomy, biogeography, bioinformatics and ecological modelling, and we have a solid fieldwork experience in Madagascar, where we have organized several expeditions. We have four main objectives:

1) Taxonomy and Systematics. We combine extensive fieldwork research with rapid molecular taxonomic identification and the comparative analyses of museum specimen to promote the cataloguing of Malagasy herpetofauna.

2) Biogeography and evolution. We combine traditional Sanger sequencing, ancient DNA techniques, whole-transcriptome shotgun sequencing, the sequencing of Ultra-Conserved Elements and bioinformatics to obtain robust time-calibrated phylogenetic hypothesis that can be used to study the biogeographic history of the multiple adaptive radiations of Madagascar.

3) Testing species diversification hypothesis. Using a differential gene expression analysis and the study of the evolution of the life-history traits in a comparative phylogenetic framework, we are testing the role played by the femoral macrogland clusters in the diversification of the mantellid frogs of Madagascar, one of the most diversified lineages of amphibians, worldwide.

4) Conservation. We are involved in multiple conservation activities having contributed to the development and implementation of the first and second (2016) Action Plan for Amphibian Conservation of Madagascar.

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