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Marcela Alvarenga

Marcela Alvarenga

PhD Student

PhD Student
Member type
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
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I am a PhD student at the University of Porto. I hold a Bachelor (2017) and a Master (2020) degree in Biological Sciences (Genetics) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. 

I started my academic career at the Department of Marine Biology/UFRJ in long-term monitoring projects to search for environmental responses to climate change in endemic coral reefs of the Abrolhos Reef System (Bahia, Brazil). I have also studied cyanobacterial systematics to understand the morphological and genetic diversity of benthic filamentous cyanobacteria that have allelopathic effects on coral reefs. In my Masters, I joined the Department of Genetics/UFRJ to work with conservation genetics, investigating the trade of endangered species (especially sharks and rays) through molecular analyses, NGS technologies and bioinformatics pipelines. 

With this background, I developed an interest in understanding how biodiversity responds to anthropogenic pressures (e.g. climate change, overexploitation, pollution) and how we can mitigate these impacts. To achieve this, I recently joined CIBIO-InBio as a PhD student to investigate the evolution and adaptive potential of seasonal camouflage in Mustela erminea, a stoat that undergoes pelage moults for camouflage throughout the year (white in winter to brown in summer). To study the genetic basis of colour polymorphisms is substantial for understanding how species may adapt to the effects of climate change, and I intend to apply population genomics, phylogenomics, genetics and ecological modelling to understand coat colour variation in stoats in the Genomics of Evolutionary Change (EVOCHANGE) research group.
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