Alex Richter-Boix

Alex Richter-Boix
Uppsala University | UU · Department of Ecology and Genetics

Ph.D.

About

87
Publications
22,762
Reads
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1,678
Citations
Introduction
My research seeks to understand the mechanisms of ecological adaptation, the link between spatial variation in ecological conditions and differentiation, including anthropogenic alterations like Global Warming, landscape alteration and invasive species. Working with populations potentially connected by migrations emphasizes the tension between the differentiating effect of selection between different environmental conditions, and the homogenizing effect of gene flow. I combine a breadth of approaches that include field data, quantitative genetic studies, molecular population genetics.
Additional affiliations
September 2008 - December 2016
Uppsala University
Position
  • Research Associate
January 2001 - August 2007
Universitat de Barcelona
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 2014 - June 2016
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Field of study
  • Digital Edition
January 2001 - January 2006
University of Barcelona
Field of study
  • Biology
January 1999 - February 2000
University of Barcelona
Field of study
  • Experimental Biology

Publications

Publications (87)
Article
Full-text available
The timing of seasonal life-history events is assumed to evolve to synchronize life cycles with the availability of resources. Temporal variation in breeding time can have severe fitness consequences for the offspring, but the interplay between adult reproductive decisions and offspring phenotypes remains poorly understood. Transgenerational plasti...
Article
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While temperature variation is known to cause large-scale adaptive divergence, its potential role as a selective factor over microgeographic scales is less well understood. Here, we investigated how variation in breeding pond temperature affects divergence in multiple physiological (thermal performance curve (TPC) and critical thermal maximum (CTma...
Article
1. The concept of metacommunity is based on the hypothesis that species occurrence depends on species dynamics and interactions on local and regional scales via the movements of individuals between localities. Metacommunity approaches are currently being applied to pond breeding taxa such as amphibians. 2. Given that animal movement is also influen...
Article
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One of the main questions in evolutionary and conservation biology is how geographical and environmental features of the landscape shape neutral and adaptive genetic variation in natural populations. The identification of genomic polymorphisms that account for adaptive variation can aid in finding candidate loci for local adaptation. Consequently,...
Article
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Ectotherm development rates often show adaptive divergence along climatic gradients, but the genetic basis for this variation is rarely studied. Here, we investigated the genetic basis for phenotypic variation in larval development in the moor frog Rana arvalis from five regions along a latitudinal gradient from Germany to northern Sweden. We focus...
Article
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While both innate and adaptive immune system mechanisms have been implicated in resistance against the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), studies on the role of specific MHC haplotypes on Bd infection are rare. Here, we studied variation in MHC Class IIB loci in the common toad Bufo bufo along a latitudinal gradient across Sweden....
Article
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En aquest context va néixer fa uns anys el projecte "Situació del tritó pirinenc (Calotriton asper) al Parc Natural del Cadí-Moixeró". El seu objectiu principal és obtenir una imatge precisa de l'estat actual de conservació del tritó en un dels parcs del Pirineu català més importants. Des de 2018 s'han fet esforços per prospectar la majoria dels to...
Article
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Clinal variation is paramount for understanding the factors shaping genetic diversity in space and time. During the last glacial maximum, northern Europe was covered by glacial ice that rendered the region uninhabitable for most taxa. Different evolutionary processes during and after the recolonisation of this area from different glacial refugia ha...
Article
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Habitat changes represent one of the five most pervasive threats to biodiversity. However, anthropogenic activities also have the capacity to create novel niche spaces to which species respond differently. In 1880, one such habitat alterations occurred in Landvikvannet, a freshwater lake on the Norwegian coast of Skagerrak, which became brackish af...
Article
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Background: While there is evidence of both purifying and balancing selection in immune defense genes, large-scale genetic diversity in antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), an important part of the innate immune system released from dermal glands in the skin, has remained uninvestigated. Here we describe genetic diversity at three AMP loci (Temporin, Br...
Article
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Genomic variation within and among populations is shaped by the interplay between natural selection and the effects of genetic drift and gene flow. Adaptive divergence can be found in small-scale natural systems even when population sizes are small, and the potential for gene flow is high, suggesting that local environments exert selection pressure...
Article
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Across latitudinal clines, the juvenile developmental rates of ectotherms often covary with the length of the growing season, due to life-history trade-offs imposed by the time-constrained environments. However, as the start of the growing season often varies substantially across years, adaptive parental effects on juvenile developmental rates may...
Article
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We analyse if the presence of the invasive Discoglossus pictus and the native Epidalea calamita in the same geographic area can shape the dynamics of infection by Batrachochytridium dendrobatidis (Bd). Both amphibian species share breeding habitat preferences in the area (i.e. ephemeral and temporary ponds) and are common syntopic competitors. We s...
Article
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Stochastic effects from demographic processes and selection are expected to shape the distribution of genetic variation in spatially heterogeneous environments. As the amount of genetic variation is central for long‐term persistence of populations, understanding how these processes affect variation over large‐scale geographic gradients is pivotal....
Article
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Organisms living in temperate environments, with only a short time window for growth and reproduction, often develop compensatory responses after experiencing a period of adverse conditions. Parents can also affect growth and development trajectories of their offspring in order to provide them with better chances to survive. In our study, we delaye...
Article
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The preference for particular features of water bodies for reproduction is one of the most important aspects of anuran ecology, affecting key aspects of both tadpole and adult life. The use by species of different habitats along the pond permanency gradient has been already studied, noting conflicting selective pressures from predation and desiccat...
Article
As organisms living in temperate environments often have only a short time window for growth and reproduction, their life-history strategies are expected to be influenced by these time-constraints. Parents may alter the pace of offspring life-history as a response to changes in breeding phenology. However, the responses to changes in time-constrain...
Article
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Environmental induced developmental plasticity occurs in many organisms and it has been suggested to facilitate biological diversification. Here we use ranid frogs to examine whether morphological changes derived from adaptive developmental acceleration in response to pool drying within a species are mirrored by differences among populations and ac...
Article
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How trophic resources are managed is a key factor in our understanding of the success of invasive species. In amphibians that usually occupy ephemeral ponds, the capacity to acquire resources and food selection are especially important because as a pond dries, the larval density increases and food resources are limited. Abundant and high-quality fo...
Article
Full-text available
How trophic resources are managed is a key factor in our understanding of the success of invasive species. In amphibians that usually occupy ephemeral ponds, the capacity to acquire resources and food selection are especially important because as a pond dries, the larval density increases and food resources are limited. Abundant and high-quality fo...
Article
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One of the critical factors for understanding the establishment, success and potential impact on native species of an introduced species is a thorough knowledge of how these species manage trophic resources. Two main trophic strategies for resource acquisition have been described: competition and opportunism. In the present study our objective was...
Conference Paper
One of the critical factors explaining the success of invasive species and their effect on native species is to know how they manage the trophic resources. Two main trophic pathways have been suggested to explain resource acquisition by invasive species: invasive species can may behave aggressively over the resources exploited by natives, displacin...
Article
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The painted frog, Discoglossus pictus, was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula 100 years ago and its distribution has steadily increased since then. We studied the effects of this non-native amphibian species on the native ones in the northeastern area of the peninsula. We compared amphibian assemblages in regions with and without D. pictus to es...
Article
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It has been suggested that phenotypic plasticity can facilitate evolutionary diversification of organisms. If life-history and morphological diversification across a lineage is mirrored in diversification in the same traits due to phenotypic plasticity within a lineage it fulfils one of the expectations that are needed to support this diversificati...
Article
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Adaptive ecological differentiation among sympatric populations is promoted by environmental heterogeneity, strong local selection and restricted gene flow. High gene flow, on the other hand, is expected to homogenize genetic variation among populations and therefore prevent local adaptation. Understanding how local adaptation can persist at the sp...
Poster
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In classical models of population genetics, is considered that the isolation by distance (IBD) is a major cause of genetic drift among populations for neutral markers. In fact, IBD predicts that more geographical distance, more genetic distance, with consideration that the landscape as a homogeneous matrix between different elements of study. This...
Article
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The extension of road networks is considered one of the major factors affecting fauna survival. Roadkill has been documented widely and affects all taxonomic groups. Although roadkill is associated mainly with traffic density, some life-history traits of species and the area surrounding roads are expected to modify number of roadkills both taxonomi...
Article
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Across altitudinal and latitudinal gradients, the proportion of suitable habitats varies, influencing the individual dispersal that ultimately can produce differentiation among populations. The natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) is distributed across a wide geographic range that qualifies the species as interesting for a geographic analysis of its gen...
Article
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Antipredator behaviour is an important fitness component in most animals. A co-evolutionary history between predator and prey is important for prey to respond adaptively to predation threats. When non-native predator species invade new areas, native prey may not recognise them or may lack effective antipredator defences. However, responses to novel...
Article
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Mediterranean temporary ponds (MTPs) are crucial breeding sites for local amphibians, a faunal group in decline in the Mediterranean mainly due to wetland destruction. Although the disappearance of len-tic habitats in other regions of the world has been ameliorated by the creation and restoration of wetlands, these tactics remain untested in Medite...
Article
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El estudio de las tolerancias térmicas para el examen de El estudio de las tolerancias térmicas para el examen de hipótesis biogeográficas y de la vulnerabilidad de los orga hipótesis biogeográficas y de la vulnerabilidad de los orga-nismos ante el calentamiento global. Ejemplos en anfíbios nismos ante el calentamiento global. Ejemplos en anfíbios....
Article
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Amphibians living in streams are often subjected to spates. These waterfloods are the main cause of organism drift and mortality, and these effects can be confounded with population decline. Discrimination between population decline and natural fluctuations in unpredictable habitats requires the study of population dynamics through monitoring and l...
Article
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Predicting the biodiversity impacts of global warming implies that we know where and with what magnitude these impacts will be encountered. Amphibians are currently the most threatened vertebrates, mainly due to habitat loss and to emerging infectious diseases. Global warming may further exacerbate their decline in the near future, although the imp...
Article
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Anurans breed in a variety of aquatic habitats with contrasting levels of desiccation risk, which may result in selection for faster development during larval stages. Previous studies suggest that species in ephemeral ponds reduce their developmental times to minimize desiccation risks, although it is not clear how variation in desiccation risk aff...
Article
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In organisms with complex life cycles, environmentally induced plasticity across sequential stages can have important consequences on morphology and life history traits such as developmental and growth rates. However, previous research in amphibians and other ectothermic vertebrates suggests that some morphological traits are generally insensitive...
Article
In ectotherms, variation in life history traits among populations is common and suggests local adaptation. However, geographic variation itself is not a proof for local adaptation, as genetic drift and gene flow may also shape patterns of quantitative variation. We studied local and regional variation in means and phenotypic plasticity of larval li...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present the first approach to the genetic diversity and structure of the Balearic toad (Bufo balearicus Boettger, 1880) for the island of Menorca. Forty-one individ-uals from 21 localities were analyzed for ten microsatellite loci. We used geo-refer-enced individual multilocus genotypes and a model-based clustering method for the inference of th...
Conference Paper
Habitat modification and wetland loss is the main cause of amphibians declining. Loss and fragmentation of original habitat have affected 88% of threatened populations. Creation and restoration of temporary wetlands has been suggested as a good management measure in the conservation of amphibians. However few quantitative studies have evaluated its...
Article
The longitudinal movements and abiotic factors that determine the distribution of Pyrenean mountain newts (males, females, amplexus and metamorphic newts) were examined in a 1500 meters segment of a Pre-Pyrenean stream. Migration of adult newts was studied by means of capture-recapture techniques in the course of one year. Our results indicate that...
Article
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Literature suggests that coexistence of amphibian species at a regional scale could be determined by spatial and temporal segregation of breeding habitats. We tested these assumptions in a Mediterranean littoral region of the NE of the Iberian Peninsula. During 5 years we measured reproductive effort of species, tadpole abundance and their potentia...
Article
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Structure and dynamics of the anuran community in the Garraf The present study analyses whether there is a spatial segregation of the various species of frogs and toads of Garraf Park that might favour the coexistence of these species on a regional scale. To this end we studied what local factors determine the abundance of larvae of each species in...
Article
Evaluando los factores que afectan a la tasa de mortalidad en la carretera: el caso de Sapo Común Bufo bufo, cerca de un área de reproducción.- El Sapo Común Bufo bufo, es el anfibio con mayor tasa de mortalidad en la carretera en numerosos países de Europa. Esta elevada mortalidad se debe principalmente a las migraciones que realiza hacia las zona...
Poster
Full-text available
Wetland loss, fragmentation and isolation of populations, among other factors, have been responsible for losses of amphibians at local and regional scales. 33% of Mediterranean amphibian species are currently in various levels of decline. Many of these species depend on temporary ponds for breeding, egg-laying or the juvenile stage of development....
Article
Ecological conditions and food quality have influence on age and size at metamorphosis of organisms with complex life cycles. However, little is known about the foraging behaviour and how diet choice is influenced by the ecological conditions. The present study poses two major questions: (1) how do different diets (high protein, low protein and bot...