• Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Joana L. Rocha
 
Position: PhD Student
Member Type: Students
Degree: MSc
Email: joanarocha@cibio.up.pt
Address: CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, R. Padre Armando Quintas. 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
Groups: BIODESERTS

I did my graduation in Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, having later obtained my MSc degree in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution at the same University. My thesis, developed at CIBIO-InBIO/UP and at the MPI-EVA (Leipzig, Germany), focused on the processes that shaped the evolutionary history of an African savannah antelope (Hippotragus niger). In 2015, I worked as a research assistant at CIBIO-InBIO, where I used ancient DNA methods and genomic analyses to study the past and present genetic diversity of the iconic and critically endangered Giant sable antelope of Angola (H. n. variani).

 

Since then, I became increasingly interested in the mechanisms driving adaptation and evolution in natural populations. My research questions are as follows: How can certain species survive in extreme harsh environments, harbouring extraordinary adaptations, when others - like the Giant Sable - are nearly extinct? What is the molecular basis of these adaptations?

 

I have now the opportunity to address these questions during my PhD at CIBIO-InBIO where, in collaboration with the Departments of Integrative Biology and Statistics at UC-Berkeley, I am currently applying an interdisciplinary approach to assess the relative roles of demography and natural selection in the evolution of North African desert-dwelling fox species. By integrating ecological and evolutionary aspects of these species with functional studies and cutting edge genomic tools, we expect to: i) identify and characterize the functional roles of the most relevant genes involved in adaptation to extreme arid conditions, ii) provide insights into the historical events responsible for adaptation and evolution in deserts.

 

ORCID