Mar Comas

Mar Comas
Dartmouth College · Department of Biological Sciences

PhD

About

46
Publications
8,823
Reads
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306
Citations
Citations since 2016
32 Research Items
211 Citations
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Introduction
My research interest lies in understanding the ecological gradients and local adaptation through altitude. Ecology, evolution, and genomics are some of the topics that interest me most, being focused on amphibians and reptiles. I am especially interested in the evolution of life-history trade-offs, the immune system and the host-parasite interactions. I have worked on amphibians and reptiles, in the Iberian Peninsula and in Morocco, studying different elevational gradients. I have worked with the Atlas day gecko in the High Atlas (Morocco), and the large Psammodromus in Sierra Nevada (Southeastern Spain). Moreover, I love amphibians: I worked with salamanders, rediscovering a new subspecies (Salamandra algira spelaea) in a Mediterranean mountain range (Beni Snassen, Morocco).
Additional affiliations
February 2020 - present
University of Granada
Position
  • Research Assistant
May 2018 - August 2018
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • I worked with the relationship between the major histocompatibility complex MHC and the presence or absence of different species of blood parasites. MHC genes are involved in the adaptive immune response against parasites and during my stay in Vienna I investigated potential associations among MHC alleles and hemoparasites.
February 2015 - January 2019
Estación Biológica de Doñana
Position
  • Severo Ochoa contract
Education
January 2014 - September 2020
University of Granada
Field of study
September 2009 - September 2010
University of Barcelona
Field of study
  • Animal diversity

Publications

Publications (46)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Culicoides biting midges are blood-sucking insects that play a key role in the transmission of different parasites to wildlife. Birds are hosts of Culicoides from as early on as the nesting stage, when constrained to their nests, and they may impact their body condition. However, the ecological factors that determine the abundance and composition o...
Article
Full-text available
Bergmann’s and Allen’s rules were defined to describe macroecological patterns across latitudinal gradients. Bergmann observed a positive association between body size and latitude for endothermic species while Allen described shorter appendages as latitude increases. Almost two centuries later, there is still ongoing discussion about these pattern...
Article
Full-text available
Several ectoparasites parasitise nestlings decreasing their body condition, growth and survival. To minimise any loss of fitness due to ectoparasites, birds have developed a wide variety of defence mechanisms, potentially including hatching asynchrony. According to the Tasty Chick Hypothesis (TCH), the cost of parasitism would be reduced if ectopar...
Article
Full-text available
Wild birds are hosts of Culicoides from as early on as the nesting stage when constrained to their nests. However, the environmental factors which determine the abundance and composition of Culicoides species within each bird nest are still understudied. We sampled Culicoides from Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) nests found in two types of...
Article
Human activities have caused massive losses of natural populations across the globe. Like many groups, amphibians have experienced substantial declines worldwide, driven by environmental changes such as habitat conversion, pollution, and disease emergence. Each of these drivers is often found in close association with the presence of roads. Here we...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Several nest-dwelling ectoparasites parasitize nestlings and can decrease their body condition, growth or survival. To minimise these negative effects, birds have developed different defence mechanisms, potentially including hatching asynchrony. In altricial birds, nestlings often establish a body size hierarchy because eggs typically hatch sequent...
Article
Full-text available
Regardless of taxonomical disquisitions on its yet unraveled phylogenetic relationships within and among taxa [...]
Conference Paper
Full-text available
El estrés oxidativo, definido como el desequilibrio entre la producción de especies reactivas de oxígeno (ROS) y moléculas antioxidantes a favor de las primeras, favorece la aparición de daños en las moléculas integrantes de células y tejidos, los cuales pueden afectar a su función y por tanto ocasionar a la larga efectos perjudiciales en los organ...
Article
Oxidative status has been proposed as an important ecological and evolutionary force given that pro-oxidant metabolites damage molecules, cells and tissues, with fitness consequences for organisms. Consequently, organisms usually face a trade-off between regulating their oxidative status and other physiological traits. However, environmental stress...
Article
Full-text available
Animals frequently show complex colour patterns involved in social communication, which attracts great interest in evolutionary and behavioural ecology. Most researchers interpret that each colour in animals with multiple patches may either signal a different bearer’s trait or redundantly convey the same information. Colour signals, moreover, may v...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human activities have caused massive losses of natural populations across the globe. Like many groups, amphibians have experienced substantial declines worldwide, driven by environmental changes such as habitat conversion, pollution, and disease emergence. Each of these drivers is often found in close association with the presence of roads. Here we...
Article
Full-text available
Lifespan is one of the main components of life history. Shorter lifespans can be expected in marginal habitats. However, in the case of ectotherms, lifespan typically increases with altitude, even though temperature –one of the main factors to determine ectotherms’ life history– declines with elevation. This pattern can be explained by the fact tha...
Article
Parasitism is one of the main selective forces in nature, strongly affecting host fitness. Still, knowledge is incomplete concerning how variation in probability and intensity of infestation depends on body condition, sex or geographic variables. Here, I study the variation in probability and intensity of infestation of bloodsucking mites parasitiz...
Thesis
Full-text available
Elevational gradients imply a huge variation in several biotic and abiotic factors that change with altitude. Because of that, organisms may change their phenotype along the altitudinal gradient being adapted to the local conditions. Consequently, elevational gradients constitute a good model to examine geographic variation offering a natural exper...
Article
Animals may face trade-offs when several simultaneous functions or processes compete for limiting resources. In that context, allocation of resources to the most fitness-enhancing competing function can be prioritized. Immune response and locomotor performance are relevant fitness components, mainly due to their important roles as defence against p...
Article
Full-text available
Predation is one of the main selective forces in nature, frequently selecting potential prey for developing escape strategies. Escape ability is typically influenced by several morphological parameters, such as morphology of the locomotor SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALes, muscular capacity, body mass, or fluctuating asymmetry, and may differ between sexes...
Article
Full-text available
The timing of organisms' senescence is developmentally programmed but also shaped by the interaction between environmental inputs and life-history traits. In ectotherms, ageing dynamics are still poorly understood even though their body temperature, metabolism, or growth trajectory are very sensitive to environmental changes. Here, we investigated...
Poster
Full-text available
Several ectoparasites, such as fleas and blowflies, parasitize nestling birds with detrimental effects on their health. To fight against ectoparasites and minimize fitness loss, birds have developed several defence mechanisms. The Tasty Chick Hypothesis (TCH) suggests that hatching asynchrony could be a defence against ectoparasites, given that ect...
Preprint
Full-text available
The timing of organisms' senescence is developmentally programmed but also shaped by the interaction between environmental inputs and life-history traits. In ectotherms, ageing dynamics are still poorly understood despite their particularities concerning thermoregulation, regeneration capacity, or growth trajectory. Here, we investigate the role of...
Article
Full-text available
Human‐modified habitats rarely yield outcomes that are aligned with conservation ideals. Landscapes that are subdivided by roads are no exception, precipitating negative impacts on populations due to fragmentation, pollution, and road kill. Although many populations in human‐modified habitats show evidence for local adaptation, rarely does environm...
Article
Full-text available
Coloration is often key in animal communication, and is frequently subjected to strong natural and sexual selection, often with opposed directions: natural selection typically favors cryptic colorations whereas sexual selection may favor conspicuous colorations. Also, different coloration traits may convey different pieces of information. Plus, col...
Article
Full-text available
In Mediterranean environments, wildfires are key in modelling landscapes, ecological succession and the dynamics of species and communities. however, in recent years, wildfires have increased in number and extent, resulting in a conservation concern. still, it is generally thought that reptiles are usually not harmed by wildfires, or even may be be...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of age on performance of life-history traits are diverse, but a common outcome is senescence, an irreversible deterioration of physical and physiological capabilities of older individuals. Immune response is potentially bound to senescence. However, little is known about immune response ageing in amphibians. In this work, we test the hy...
Data
Raw data for analyses of senescence of immune response
Article
Full-text available
Global amphibian decline is due to several factors: habitat loss, anthropization, pollution, emerging diseases, and global warming. Amphibians, with complex life cycles, are particularly susceptible to habitat alterations, and their survival may be impaired in anthropized habitats. Increased mortality is a well-known consequence of anthropization....
Article
Full-text available
Skeletochronology allows estimation of lizard age with a single capture (from a bone), making long-term monitoring unnecessary. Nevertheless, this method often involves the death of the animal to obtain the bone. We tested the reliability of skeletochronology of phalanges (which may be obtained without killing) by comparing the estimated age from f...
Article
Full-text available
Skeletochronology allows estimation of lizard age with a single capture (from a bone), making long–term monitoring unnecessary. Nevertheless, this method often involves the death of the animal to obtain the bone. We tested the reliability of skeletochronology of phalanges (which may be obtained without killing) by comparing the estimated age from f...
Preprint
Full-text available
Demographic studies are fundamental in population ecology, as well as in conservation biology and wildlife management. However, few methods are available to determine the exact age of animals. Mark-recapture is usually the main method to study demography, but this approach is highly time-consuming and needs long-term monitoring. For species for whi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Demographic studies are fundamental in population ecology, as well as in conservation biology and wildlife management. However, few methods are available to determine the exact age of animals. Mark-recapture is usually the main method to study demography, but this approach is highly time-consuming and needs long-term monitoring. For species for whi...
Article
Full-text available
The southern shrike (Lanius meridionalis) is declining at the Spanish and European level. One cause of this decline could be low reproductive success due to low availability of prey in agricultural environments. To investigate this possibility we analysed the breeding ecology of a population of southern shrike in an agrosystem in Lomas de Padul (SE...
Article
Full-text available
Hyalosaurus koellikeri is the only member of the family Anguidae found on the African continent. It has been suggested that its distribution is dependent on forest habitats. Here, we investigated habitat selection of this secretive species in Morocco, at a fine spatial resolution. We examined the association between the presence of H. koellikeri an...
Article
Full-text available
A cornerstone in parasitology is why some species or populations are more parasitized than others. Here we examine the influence of host characteristics and habitat on parasite prevalence. We studied the helminths parasitizing the Pyrenean brook newt Calotriton asper (n= 167), paying special attention to the relationship between parasites and ecolo...
Article
Interspecific competition is considered a major determinant of ecological niche. It is hypothesized that increased competitionshould reduce niche breadth. However, there are scarce field tests on this hypothesis. Here, we test this central hypothesis inecology by using the Atlas day gecko Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus. This alpine gecko faces fewer...
Article
Full-text available
Host traits can significantly influence patterns of infection and disease. Here, we studied the helminths parasitizing the Italian edible frog Pelophylax kl. hispanicus, giving special attention to the relationship between parasites and host traits such as sex, snout vent length, weight and body condition. The helminth community was composed of sev...
Article
The genetic variability and the potential distribution under past (Last Glacial Maximum; LGM (MIROC and CCSM simulations)) and present conditions were studied for the anguid Hyalosaurus koellikeri, using analyses of two mitochondrial (ND1 and ND2) and one nuclear (PRLR) gene and species distribution modelling (SDM) including 19 geographical coordin...
Article
Full-text available
Two new records of Natrix natrix are described for Morocco, which will widen the knowledge of this highly localized species. The record on the Atlantic coast is of special interest as it confirms the presence of the African grass snake in lagoons and deltaic ecosystems in Morocco. Resum Dues noves cites de Natrix natrix són descrites pel Marroc, el...
Article
Full-text available
A new subspecies of Salamandra algira is described from the Beni Snassen massif (Northeast Morocco). It is both genetically and morphologically distinct from all other S. algira populations and is geographically isolated. Morphologically, the new subspecies is characterized mainly by its large size, the presence of little red and white dots on the...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Our main goal is to understand how the lizard Psammodromus algirus can inhabit from sea level to more than 2500 m altitude in Sierra Nevada (SE Spain). Given that the environment, biotic and abiotic, varies considerably in such a wide altitude gradient, we propose that the lizard should show local adaptations along the altitudinal gradient. We focus on studying its thermal ecology, as well as its trophic ecology, social relations, reproductive ecology, life history, and so on. Similar studies were carried out with the gecko Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus in Atlas.
Project
Our main goal is to understand how blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) respond to the environmental heterogeneity (spatial and temporal) typical of Mediterranean environments. We analyze whether it presents (or not) local adaptation (sensu lato) by measuring different phenotypic traits (morphological, physiological, and behavioral), and the mechanisms that lead to this local adaptation (if present), or, on the contrary, the consequences of its absence. We also analyzed similar questions along elevational gradients using great tits and coal tits as study subjects.