Rodrigo Megía Palma

Rodrigo Megía Palma
University of Alcalá | UAH · Biomedicine and Biotechnology

Assistant Professor and junior researcher
Teaching & Research

About

51
Publications
13,341
Reads
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388
Citations
Introduction
Do we know how parasites of lizards evolved and diversified? What determines a successful co-evolution process between parasites and their hosts? What are the effects of climate change on extension and intensity of host-parasite interactions? Do we know everything about the distribution of parasitic diseases of wild fauna? Is this important to face future health and conservation challenges? Could parasites influence the process of local adaptation of their host populations to climate change through their influence on sexual selection? https://rodrigomegia.wixsite.com/parasite
Additional affiliations
January 2021 - present
University of Alcalá
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Teaching and research tasks
April 2019 - April 2025
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Position
  • Researcher
May 2018 - December 2018
Spanish National Research Council
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2010 - October 2015
January 2010 - June 2010
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology
October 2006 - June 2008

Publications

Publications (51)
Article
Full-text available
Host species in populations under strong pressures from parasitic diseases may evolve ornaments to signal individual host quality to conspecifics. Colour ornaments in lizards result from the interaction of different layers in the skin. When inner layers of melanin and well-arranged iridophores are combined, UV-blue structural colouration results. O...
Article
Full-text available
Pigment-based ornaments in vertebrates may reflect the body condition or health status of the individual in correlation with environmental stress and hormonal balance. Among the environmental factors shaping sexual colouration, parasitic infections have been stressed as an important evolutionary pressure constraining the maintenance of pigment-base...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, several species of Isospora infecting lizards were genetically characterized. Specifically, five described and four newly described species of Isospora were included in a phylogeny of the family Eimeriidae. These species were isolated from hosts originally inhabiting all geographic continents except Europe. Phylogenetic analyses of t...
Article
Full-text available
Reptiles are the animals with the most described coccidian species among all vertebrates. However, the co-evolutionary relationships in this host–parasite system have been scarcely studied. Paperna & Landsberg (South African Journal of Zoology, 24, 1989, 345) proposed the independent evolutionary origin of the Eimeria-like species isolated from rep...
Article
The current taxonomy on the haemococcidia establishes that the two genera of protozoan parasites that integrate the family Lankesterellidae are Lankesterella and Schellackia. However, the phylogeny of these genera, as well as the other coccidia, remains unresolved. In this sense, the use of type and described species is essential for the resolution...
Article
Full-text available
We present the first study that compares phenological variation in parasite load and inflammatory response in a lizard with asynchronous male and female gonadal cycles. Other studies have used many species with seasonal and synchronous reproductive cycles, in which it is difficult to decouple the effects of internal and external factors that can af...
Article
The responses of ground-dwelling birds to heat and cold stress encompass a variety of behavioural, physiological and even morphological mechanisms. However, the role of glabrous skin in this respect has been marginally addressed so far. The Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) is a gamebird distributed across Sub-Saharan Africa with eight extant...
Article
Full-text available
Ontogeny is expected to be a determinant factor affecting production of colour patches in lizards, while immune challenges or sudden weight loss may impair the maintenance of pigment-based coloration within a breeding season. We translocated males of the lizard Psammodromus algirus between two sampling plots that differed in distance to a road, veg...
Article
Studies which quantify the influence of abiotic factors on physiological variation are paramount to comprehend organismal responses to diverse environments. We studied three physiological aspects of metabolism in two sympatric and ecologically similar European lizard species, Podarcis muralis and Iberolacerta horvathi, across an 830-m elevational g...
Article
In parasite-host interactions host species may differ in their ability to fight parasitic infections, while other ecological interactions, including competition, may differentially alter their physiological state, making them even more susceptible to parasites. In this study, we analyze the haemogregarine blood parasites infecting two competing liz...
Article
Differences between air and ground temperatures are expected to narrow with the advance of the season in temperate regions (aka seasonal restriction in the availability of thermal microhabitats), which may activate behavioral and physiological responses of ectotherm species adapted to temperate climates. However, according to cost-benefit models of...
Article
Several studies of lizards have made an erroneous interpretation of negative relationships between spectral brightness and parasite load, and thus provided misleading support for the Hamilton–Zuk hypothesis (HZH). The HZH predicts that infected hosts will produce poorer sexual ornamentation than uninfected individuals as a result of energetic trade...
Article
Full-text available
Ectotherms are vulnerable to environmental changes and their parasites are biological indicators of their health. Thus, parasite load in ectotherms is expected to show a marked phenology consistent with seasonal changes in the environment. The present study investigates temporal host-parasite dynamics in a lizard community in the Eastern Iberian Pe...
Article
1. In the past decades, nocturnal temperatures have been playing a disproportionate role in the global warming of the planet. Yet, they remain a neglected factor in studies assessing the impact of global warming on natural populations. 2. Here, we question whether an intense augmentation of nocturnal temperatures is beneficial or deleterious to ect...
Article
Full-text available
Mitigation-driven translocations represent an increasingly common management solution to reduce animal mortality and habitat loss caused by human development. Although they currently outnumber other translocation types, there is a lack of scientific approaches to evaluate the outcome of this management tool. We designed an experimental translocatio...
Article
Full-text available
The study of intraspecific geographic variation of non-passerine vocalisations remains understudied especially in African species. We explored spatial patterns in call variation of the Crested Francolin Dendroperdix sephaena across its wide sub-Saharan distribution in Africa. We extracted and compared 152 pair duets from 44 recordings encompassing...
Article
The plastic capability of species to cope with the new conditions created by climate change is poorly understood. This is particularly relevant for organisms restricted to high elevations because they are adapted to cold temperatures and low oxygen availability. Therefore, evaluating trait plasticity of mountain specialists is fundamental to unders...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropization of insular ecosystems may have negative impacts on native populations of lizards, which provide core ecosystem services on islands. We aimed to identify environmental factors to explain the interlocal variation in faecal glucocorticoids, parasite intensity, and body condition in populations of insular lizards. A cross-sectional desig...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally accepted that parasites exert negative effects on their hosts and that natural selection favors specific host responses that mitigate this impact. It is also known that some components of the host immune system often co-evolve with parasite antigens resulting in a host-parasite arms race. In addition to immunological components of t...
Article
Current and past parasite transmission may depend on the geographic contact between hosts, potentially affecting host specificity and co-evolutionary processes. Nonetheless, divergent evolution in sympatry might be especially relevant in parasite systems that infect hosts with low mobility. Here, we test the co-speciation hypothesis between lizard...
Article
Melanic pigments play a key role in the coloration of animals. However, the type of melanin pigment in black, brown, and blue colored scales of Squamata has not previously been studied. Based on research on birds and mammals we may expect that pheomelanin is the majority pigment in brownish colorations and eumelanin is the majority pigment in black...
Article
Full-text available
Studying the causes of parasite geographic distribution is relevant to understand ecological and evolutionary processes that affect host populations as well as for species conservation. Temperature is one of the most important environmental variables affecting parasite distribution, as raising temperatures positively affect development, reproductio...
Article
Full-text available
Parasites generally have a negative influence on the color expression of their hosts. Sexual selection theory predicts high quality resistant individuals should show intense coloration, whereas susceptible low quality individuals would show poor coloration. However, intensely colored males of different species of Old and New World lizards were more...
Article
Full-text available
Communicative traits are strikingly diverse and may vary among populations of the same species. Within a population, these traits may also display seasonal variation. Chemical signals play a key role in the communication of many taxa. However, we still know far too little about chemical communication in some vertebrate groups. In lizards, only a fe...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Species of Schellackia Reichenow, 1919 have been described from the blood of reptiles distributed worldwide. Recently, Schellackia spp. detected in European and Asian lizards have been molecularly characterised. However, parasites detected in American lizard hosts remain uncharacterised. Thus, phylogenetic affinities between the Old and...
Article
Full-text available
The honesty of structural-based ornaments is controversial. Sexual selection theory predicts that the honesty of a sexual signal relies on its cost of production or maintenance. Therefore, environmental factors with negative impact on individuals could generate high costs and affect the expression of these sexual signals. In this sense, parasites a...
Article
In wild bird populations nestlings are commonly infested by ectoparasites. The effects that ectoparasites exert on host fitness usually become evident after the complete elimination of parasites or a substantial reduction in their abundance. Among the most common elimination methods in ecological studies, the use of chemical insecticides is traditi...
Thesis
Full-text available
This dissertation achieved two main objectives: 1) Characterizing the most prevalent genera of eimeriorine protozoan found infecting lizards (Schellackia, Lankesterella, Acroeimeria, Choleoeimeria, Caryospora and Isospora) contextualizing them in an evolutionary frame from morphologic, molecular and phylogenetic approaches; 2) Studying the relation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Parasites are important in population dynamics. Since parasites compete with their host for resources, causing damage to many aspects of the host, parasitism interacts with many selective forces driving host's evolution. In a scenario of global change, there are many organisms shifting their distributions (i.e. parasites and their hosts); frequentl...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
During the mating season, male vertebrates may face a negative immunomodulation due to the increase of their plasma testosterone levels. These hormonal changes may lead to an increase in the susceptibility to parasitic diseases. During the mating season of 2013, 75 individuals of Lacerta scheriberi in a population breeding at middle elevation were...
Article
Full-text available
SUMMARY In the present study we detected Schellackia haemoparasites infecting the blood cells of Lacerta schreiberi and Podarcis hispanica, two species of lacertid lizards from central Spain. The parasite morphometry, the presence of a refractile body, the type of infected blood cells, the kind of host species, and the lack of oocysts in the fecal...
Data
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##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
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##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
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##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
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##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
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##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
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Article
Full-text available
Polydactyly is common in amphibia where chemical pollution or endogenous parasitosis may induce malformations. In reptiles, multiple tails are commonly found when an individual partially break its original tail. However, case reports of malformations in limbs are rare. In a population with about 200 marked individuals in the Guadarrama Mountains, w...
Article
Full-text available
1. The European stag beetle, Lucanus cervus, is thought to be widely distributed across its range, but a detailed description of its occurrence is lacking. 2. Researchers in 41 countries were contacted and information sought on various life history characteristics of the insect. Data on adult body size were collected from seven countries. 3. Habita...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
Is it possible to run model averaging on an ordinal multinomial mixed model?
The analysis can be performed with the function clmm() but this is not admited by the package MuMIn. Has anyone dealed with this issue before?
Thanks,
Rodrigo
Question
I'm trying to identify the pigments in a sample through HPLC analysis and I need standards for red pterines.

Projects

Projects (6)
Project
We will conduct research on two mountain lizard species that occur across large elevation spans, one from the sub-tropical climate in the Tenerife Island (species Gallotia galloti) and the other from temperate climate in Slovenia (species Iberolacerta horvathi). The main goals of the present project are: 1) Advance our understanding of how physiology, namely metabolism and water retention ability, reflect current climate and environmental pressures in ectotherms. 2) Understand adaptation/plasticity potential of their physiology. 3) Improve the basic knowledge of the role of skin properties in water retention abilities in lizards. 4) Understand response potential of water retention to temperature and humidity variation. 5) Improve our understanding of the capacity of physiology to respond to predicted global climate change.
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
The goal of the project is understanding the biological, phylogenetic, and ecological factors that may influence the co-evolutionary history between blood parasites and lizard hosts.