Impacts of environmental change on genetic diversity within populations and species

Although rapid climatic changes have occurred in the past, current climate warming is occurring very rapidly by comparison, and recent studies have identified climate warming to be among the most important threats to biodiversity. Climate change is expected to have stronger effects on species with low genetic diversity, ectothermic physiology, small-ranges, low effective populations sizes, specific habitat requirements and limited dispersal capabilities. Despite an ever increasing number of studies reporting climate change induced range shifts, few of these have incorporated species’ specific dispersal constraints and habitat fragmentation into their models. Moreover, the impacts of climate change on genetic diversity within populations and species have rarely been assessed while this is a promising direction for future research.
I study the effects of climate change impacts on genetic diversity within populations and species and am currently developing new methods to incorporate both genetic diversity and dispersal into assessments of species responses.

Biogeography, evolution and systematics 

Over the years I have been involved in several studies regarding biogeography, evolution and systematics of herpetofauna. I have been working mainly in North Africa on both reptiles (e.g. HyalosaurusNatrix) and amphibians (e.g. PelobatesAlytesSalamandraDiscoglossus). More recently, I have started working with reptiles in the Arabian Peninsula (e.g. PristurusBunopusPtyodactylus).

Main collaborators: Salvador Carranza and Wouter Beukema

Natural history and distribution mapping

Data on a species natural history and distribution is fundamental for most ecological, evolutionary and conservation studies. Therefore I am interested in obtaining as much data as possible and publishing relevant information. I am involved in the mapping committee of Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH) and we have released a new atlas of the European herpetofauna in 2014. Furthermore, I am involved in mapping initiatives in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.