We are studying herpetofauna of biodiversity hotspots, areas with an exceptionally high ecosystem, species, and genetic diversity. Such regions in Eurasia represent the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia. All of them are major regions of our interest.
The Balkans is phylogeographically less studied than Iberia or even the Apennine Peninsula despite it is richer in species and paleoendemics. Phylogeographic studies have shown that the Balkans was not only an important radiation center and the Pleistocene refugium, but it was also the major source of postglacial colonization of Central and Northern Europe. In other words, the current species and genetic diversity of Central European biota would look very different without the Balkans.
The Middle East and Central Asia represent a wide area with several important biodiversity hotspots lying in the Levant (Israel & Lebanon), Zagros mountains (Iraq & Iran) or the Hindu Kush, Pamir, and the Tien Shan (Afghanistan, Pakistan & Central Asiatic countries)
A major current focus is to identify patterns of historical biogeography and the evolution of amphibians and reptiles within these regions based on genetic, morphological, and environmental data, specifically:
evolutionary histories and uncovering cryptic diversity in Eurasia
centers of radiations, refugia, post-glacial expansions, and re-colonization routes after the Last Glacial Maximum
taxonomy and its importance for conservation purposes
Interested in joining the lab?