Joan Garcia-Porta

Joan Garcia-Porta
Washington University in St. Louis | WUSTL , Wash U · Department of Biology

PhD, University of Barcelona

About

56
Publications
22,468
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Introduction
I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding the mechanisms of adaptation and diversification. My research currently focuses in three general realms: (1) evolution of insular systems, (2) adaptation to climate and climate change and (3) the eco-evolutionary dynamics of innovations. I approach these topics from a broad perspective, combining molecular phylogenetics, morphometrics, GIS approaches and statistical modelling.
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
Washington University in St. Louis
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2016 - present
February 2016 - July 2016
UNSW Sydney
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (56)
Article
In most pan-Eurasiatic species complexes, two phenomena have been traditionally considered key processes of their cladogenesis and biogeography. First, it is hypothesized that the origin and development of the Central Asian Deserts generated a biogeographic barrier that fragmented past continuous distributions in Eastern and Western domains. Second...
Article
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The acquisition of key innovations and the invasion of new areas constitute two major processes that facilitate ecological opportunity and subsequent evolutionary diversification. Using a major lizard radiation as a model, the Australasian diplodactyloid geckos, we explored the effects of two key innovations (adhesive toepads and a snake-like pheno...
Article
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Aim To understand the patterns of genetic, geographical and morphological diversification in the Arabian gecko subspecies Pristurus rupestris rupestris, and to discuss the various processes that generate and shape diversity in arid mountain ranges. Location Hajar Mountains, southeastern Arabian Peninsula. Methods We sampled 466 individuals across t...
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Climatic conditions changing over time and space shape the evolution of organisms at multiple levels, including temperate lizards in the family Lacertidae. Here we reconstruct a dated phylogenetic tree of 262 lacertid species based on a supermatrix relying on novel phylogenomic datasets and fossil calibrations. Diversification of lacertids was acco...
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A longstanding issue in biology is whether the intelligence of animals can be predicted by absolute or relative brain size. However, progress has been hampered by an insufficient understanding of how neuron numbers shape internal brain organization and cognitive performance. On the basis of estimations of neuron numbers for 111 bird species, we sho...
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Parasitism is among the most common forms of coexistence of organisms of different species. Hemoparasites live in the bloodstream of the host where they complete different life-cycle stages. Members of the phylum Apicomplexa constitute a large portion of all hemoparasites infecting reptiles and their parasite transmitting vectors, including arthrop...
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The processes that allow some lineages to diversify rapidly at a global scale remain poorly understood. Although earlier studies emphasized the importance of dispersal, global expansions expose populations to novel environments and may also require adaptation and diversification across new niches. In this study, we investigated the contributions of...
Article
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Anthropogenic climate change is rapidly altering local environments and threatening biodiversity throughout the world. Although many wildlife responses to this phenomenon appear largely idiosyncratic, a wealth of basic research on this topic is enabling the identification of general patterns across taxa. Here, we expand those efforts by investigati...
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Biological invasions pose one of the most severe environmental challenges of the twenty‐first century. A longstanding idea is that invasion risk is predictable based on the phylogenetic distance – and hence ecological resemblance – between non‐native and native species. However, current evidence is contradictory. To explain these mixed results, it...
Article
Understanding the genomic basis of adaptation to different abiotic environments is important in the context of climate change and resulting short‐term environmental fluctuations. Using functional and comparative genomics approaches, we here investigated whether signatures of genomic adaptation to a set of environmental parameters are concentrated i...
Article
Islands have long been recognized as key contributors to biodiversity because they facilitate geographic isolation and ecological divergence from mainland ancestors. However, island colonization has traditionally been considered an evolutionary dead-end process, and its consequences for continental biodiversity remain understudied. Here, we use the...
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Ecological stoichiometry and studies of biogeochemical niches have mainly focused on plankton and vascular plants, but the phenotypically closest modern relatives of early plants, bryophytes, have been largely neglected. We analysed C:N:P stoichiometries and elemental compositions (K, Na, Mg, Ca, S, Fe) of 35 widely distributed bryophyte species in...
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1. Nutrient economy and plant nutrient concentrations have been suggested as im- portant selective pressures of reproductive traits in vascular plants. However, evidence supporting that the reproduction of bryophytes and their reproductive traits have also been conditioned by nutrient availability is lacking. 2. We here analysed the nutrient (N, P,...
Preprint
Despite biological invasions are one of the main environmental problems of the twenty-first century, there is still no theoretical or empirical agreement on whether a high phylogenetic relatedness between exotic and native species positively or negatively affect invasion success. To resolve this conundrum, it has been proposed that the effect might...
Article
Despite their miniature brains, insects exhibit substantial variation in brain size. Although the functional significance of this variation is increasingly recognized, research on whether differences in insect brain sizes are mainly the result of constraints or selective pressures has hardly been performed. Here, we address this gap by combining pr...
Article
The taxonomy of Procellariiformes, particularly petrels and shearwaters, is still unresolved. The Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus is one of the best studied seabirds worldwide. Most of the information known on this seabird is focused on the northern core populations where the species is abundant. However, the species shows a high number of periph...
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The fossil record provides compelling examples of heterochrony at macroevolutionary scales such as the peramorphic giant antlers of the Irish elk. Heterochrony has also been invoked in the evolution of the distinctive cranial frill of ceratopsian dinosaurs such as Triceratops. Although ceratopsian frills vary in size, shape, and ornamentation, quan...
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Evolutionary innovations and ecological competition are factors often cited as drivers of adaptive diversification. Yet many innovations result in stabilizing rather than diversifying selection on morphology, and morphological disparity among coexisting species can reflect competitive exclusion (species sorting) rather than sympatric adaptive diver...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the genomic basis of adaptation to different abiotic environments is important for understanding organismal responses to current short-term environmental fluctuations. Using functional and comparative genomics approaches, we here investigated whether genomic adaptation to a set of environmental parameters is contingent across vertebra...
Article
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Mosses are amongst the oldest and simplest plants, they can be found almost everywhere in the world, and they condition the structure and function of many ecosystems. Their sensitivity to environmental changes makes them very interesting subjects of study in ecology and understanding them can provide insights into the evolutionary history of plants...
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Flying squirrels are the only group of gliding mammals with a remarkable diversity and wide geographical range. However, their evolutionary story is not well known. Thus far, identification of extinct flying squirrels has been exclusively based on dental features, which, contrary to certain postcranial characters, are not unique to them. Therefore,...
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In the present work, we use an exceptional database including 5,359 records of 101 species of Oman’s terrestrial reptiles together with spatial tools to infer the spatial patterns of species richness and endemicity, to infer the habitat preference of each species and to better define conservation priorities, with especial focus on the effectiveness...
Article
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Metabolomes, as chemical phenotypes of organisms, are likely not only shaped by the environment but also by common ancestry. If this is the case, we expect that closely related species of pines will tend to reach similar metabolomic solutions to the same environmental stressors. We examined the metabolomes of two sympatric subspecies of Pinus sylve...
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Anuran amphibians undergo major morphological transitions during development, but the contribution of their markedly different life-history phases to macroevolution has rarely been analysed. Here we generate testable predictions for coupling versus uncoupling of phenotypic evolution of tadpole and adult life-history phases, and for the underlying e...
Data
Nexus file of morphological characters of tadpoles of mantellid frogs. Characters as in Supplementary Table 5.
Data
Supplementary Figures, Supplementary Tables, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Refernces
Data
Perl script used to extract list of Gene Ontologies associated with morphology from Mantidactylus betsileanus annotated transcripts, based on list defined on morphology-associated GO terms list in Xenopus laevis.
Data
Nexus file of morphological characters of adult mantellid frogs. Characters as in Supplementary Table 4.
Conference Paper
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Flying squirrels (Sciuridae: Pteromyini) are relatively common and diverse in the European Miocene, although they are mostly known from isolated cheek teeth, mandibles and maxillary fragments. Due to the lack of postcranial material, their inclusion into the Pteromyini has been questioned, because truly diagnostic characters only occur in the carpu...
Article
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Island colonization is often assumed to trigger extreme levels of phenotypic diversification. Yet, empirical evidence suggests that it does not always so. In this study we test this hypothesis using a completely sampled mainland-island system, the arid clade of Hemidactylus, a group of geckos mainly distributed across Africa, Arabia and the Socotra...
Article
Full-text available
Plants respond locally and systemically to herbivore attack. Most of the research conducted on plant-herbivore relationships at elemental and molecular levels have focused on the elemental composition or/and certain molecular compounds or specific families of defensive metabolites showing that herbivores tend to select plant individuals or species...
Article
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The existence of elaborate ornamental structures in males is often assumed to reflect the outcome of female mate choice for showy males. However, female mate choice appears weak in many iguanian lizards, but males still exhibit an array of ornament-like structures around the throat. We performed a phylogenetic comparative study to assess whether th...
Article
A molecular phylogeny of the sphaerodactylid geckos of the genus Pristurus is inferred based on an alignment of 1845 base pairs (bp) of concatenated mitochondrial (12S) and nuclear (acm4, cmos, rag1 and rag2) genes for 80 individuals, representing 18 of the 23–26 species, and the three subspecies of P. rupestris. The results indicate that P. rupest...
Article
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The amphibian fauna of the Kingdom of Morocco was traditionally regarded as poor and closely related to its European counterpart. However, an increase in research during the last decades revealed a considerable degree of endemism amongst Moroccan amphibians, as well as phenotypic and genotypic inter- and intraspecific divergence. Despite this incre...
Article
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Complex social communication is expected to evolve whenever animals engage in many and varied social interactions; that is, sociality should promote communicative complexity. Yet, informal comparisons among phylogenetically independent taxonomic groups seem to cast doubt on the putative role of social factors in the evolution of complex communicati...
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...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
IAbstract. In this work, we describe remains of the Gekkonidae and Colubridae families from the Pliocene of Punta Nati 3 and Punta Nati 12 (Minorca, Balearic Islands). This is the first fossils record of these families before man settlement in Balearic Islands. The important fragmentation of the Gekkonidae remains doest not allows us more precise t...
Article
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Two viperid snakes, Vipera natiensis sp. n. (belonging to the Vipera aspis group) and Vipera sp., have been found in the Pliocene of Minorca. On the other hand, an indeterminate viperid extends back the fossil record of the family in the Balearic Islands, to the Middle Miocene. These fossils represent the first report of viperids from the Balearic...
Article
Full-text available
Première découverte de Viperidae (Reptilia, Serpentes) dans les îles Baléares (Espagne) : des vipères du Néogène de Minorque. Description d'une nouvelle espèce du Pliocène Abstract – The first record of viperid snakes (Reptilia, Serpentes) from the Balearic Islands (Spain): fossils from the Neogene, with description of a new species from the Plioce...
Article
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Pleistocene tortoise fossil nest from Formentera (PitiUses Islands, Balearic Archipelago). A fossil clutch from the Pleistocene of Pujol d'es Fum (Formentera, Balearic Islands) is studied. From its structure, egg morphology and eggshell microstructure, belonging to the ootaxon Testudoolithus, it is attributed to a tortoise. According to the present...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The Gulf of Guinea archipelago, located off the west coast of Africa, is formed by four volcanic islands that originated during the last 35 Ma. The age, isolation, and great physiographic complexity of the islands (with altitudes ranging from 600 m to 3,000 m) make them hotspots of plant diversity with more than 150 endemics. Surprisingly, despite its great biodiversity, the origin and diversification of the flowering plants of this group of islands has been poorly studied. In this project we aim to fill this gap by studying the biogeography, evolution, and systematics of the endemic flowering plants of this archipelago. We will do this by means of multiple approaches, integrating molecular phylogenetics, ecology, morphometrics, GIS tools and statistical modeling. Our aim is to advance in the understanding of the processes that build and maintain biodiversity in islands, improving also the knowledge on the current diversity and taxonomy of the flowering plants of this highly diverse region.
Archived project
financed by Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Spanish government (CGL2012-36970) and developed at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Duration: 3 years; Amount granted: 176.670 € (+ PhD student fellowship); Number of researchers: 6; PI: Salvador Carranza (IBE)
Project
financed by Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Spanish government (CGL2015-70390-P) and developed at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Duration: 3 years; Number of researchers: 8; PI: Salvador Carranza (IBE).