Soraia Barbosa

Soraia Barbosa
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources | CIBIO

MSc, PhD
soraiabarbosa.weebly.com

About

27
Publications
6,570
Reads
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251
Citations
Introduction
I am a conservation geneticist with a PhD in biodiversity, genetic and evolution from Porto University. My interests relate to animal conservation, especially by understanding and counteracting the processes leading to species endangerment. My research focuses on the use of genetic and genomic tools for mammal conservation, while promoting the use of non-invasive samples; it relies on the study of species phylogeny, phylogeography, and population and landscape genetics to understand how species genetic diversity varies in both space and time. My main focus is to develop conservation guidelines informed by genetic evidence for better informed conservation planning.
Additional affiliations
October 2016 - December 2017
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Position
  • Research Assistant
October 2016 - December 2017
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Position
  • Research Assistant
October 2010 - January 2012
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Position
  • Technician
Description
  • Development of microsatellite markers for metapopulation analysis of an endangered rodent, Microtus cabrerae, using noninvasive (fecal) samples.
Education
October 2008 - October 2010
CIBIO Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
Field of study
  • Molecular identification of Iberian rodents using noninvasive genetic sampling
September 2004 - July 2008
University of Porto
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (27)
Article
Full-text available
Mammals are threatened worldwide, with ca. 26% of all species being included in the IUCN threatened categories. This overall pattern is primarily associated to habitat loss or degradation, and human persecution for terrestrial mammals, and pollution, open net fishing, climate change and prey depletion for marine mammals. Mammals play a key role in...
Article
Full-text available
A data set of terrestrial, volant, and marine mammal occurrences in Portugal
Article
Understanding the neutral (demographic) and adaptive processes leading to the differentiation of species and populations is a critical component of evolutionary and conservation biology. In this context, recently diverged taxa represent a unique opportunity to study the process of genetic differentiation. Northern and southern Idaho ground squirrel...
Article
Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) populations in the western United States have undergone widespread declines and extirpations since the late nineteenth century as a consequence of introduced diseases, competition with livestock, and unregulated hunting. Washington, Idaho, USA, and British Columbia, Canada were historically thought to be occupied by...
Article
Full-text available
Tasmanian devils ( Sarcophilus harrisii ) are evolving in response to a unique transmissible cancer, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), first described in 1996. Persistence of wild populations and the recent emergence of a second independently evolved transmissible cancer suggest that transmissible cancers may be a recurrent feature in devils. Her...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the neutral (demographic) and adaptive processes leading to the differentiation of species and populations is a critical component of evolutionary and conservation biology. In this context, recently diverged taxa represent a unique opportunity to study the process of genetic differentiation. Northern and southern Idaho ground squirrel...
Article
Invasive species have the ability to colonize new habitats across distinct areas of the globe, rapidly adjusting to new biotic and abiotic conditions, and often experiencing little impact from the decrease in effective population size and genetic diversity. Still, as each invading population represents a subsample of the original native distributio...
Chapter
Population genomics provides a powerful and growing set of approaches for wildlife biology, revealing new insights into demographic history, population structure, adaptation, and the consequences of genetic diversity. Given the multiple threats faced by global biodiversity, it is critical for researchers to advance efforts to manage and conserve wi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) are evolving in response to a unique transmissible cancer, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), first described in 1996. Persistence of wild populations and the recent emergence of a second independently evolved transmissible cancer suggest that transmissible cancers may be a recurrent feature in devils. We us...
Article
Full-text available
Preserving genetic diversity is a central goal in conservation biology, but there is a mismatch between the availability of genetic data and its use in conservation policy. In this study, we surveyed conservation practitioners from academic and government institutions to identify barriers preventing the use of genetic data for conservation practice...
Article
Landscape genomics studies focus on identifying candidate genes under selection via spatial variation in abiotic environmental variables, but rarely by biotic factors (i.e., disease). The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii ) is found only on the environmentally heterogeneous island of Tasmania and is threatened with extinction by a transmissible...
Preprint
Full-text available
Landscape genomics studies focus on identifying candidate genes under selection via spatial variation in abiotic environmental variables, but rarely by biotic factors such as disease. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is found only on the environmentally heterogeneous island of Tasmania and is threatened with extinction by a nearly 100% fa...
Article
Full-text available
Although important to guide conservation management, detailed demographic studies on rare or elusive species inhabiting fragmented, human-dominated landscapes are often hampered by the species' low densities, and the logistic and ethical constraints in obtaining reliable information covering large areas. Genetic non-invasive sampling (gNIS) provide...
Presentation
Full-text available
Determining species paleo-distributions during glacial periods is challenging. Using Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM), genomic expansion models and the fossil record, we examined the distribution of a Near-Threatened rodent, the Cabrera’s vole (Microtus cabrerae). These three lines of evidence provided dissonant results concerning the location of a...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic non-invasive sampling (gNIS) may provide valuable information for population monitoring, as it allows inferences of population density and key behavioural traits such as dispersal, kinship and reproduction. Despite its enormous potential, gNIS has rarely been applied to small mammals, for which live-trapping is still the most commonly used...
Article
Full-text available
Estimating the size of animal populations is essential for understanding the demography and conservation status of species. Genetic Non-Invasive Sampling (gNIS) combined with Spatially Explicit Capture-Recapture (SECR) modelling may provide a practical tool to obtain such estimates. Here we evaluate for the first time the potential and limitations...
Article
Climate change and increasing habitat loss greatly impact species survival, requiring range shifts, phenotypic plasticity and/or evolutionary change for long term persistence, which may not readily occur unaided in threatened species. Therefore, defining conservation actions requires a detailed assessment of evolutionary factors. Existing genetic d...
Presentation
Full-text available
Determining species’ past distributions during glacial periods is a main challenge in biogeography. We combine ecological niche models (ENM), phylogeography and fossil records to infer the historical biogeography of the Cabrera’s vole, a near-threatened rodent endemic to the Iberian Peninsula (IP). ENM and phylogeographic analyses provided reasonab...
Conference Paper
Population density is a key parameter to assess the status of threatened species. However, accurate density estimates are often difficult to obtain, particularly in the case of rare and patchily distributed species, for which sampling is constrained by time, finance, and manpower. Knowledge of the most cost-effective sampling and modeling technique...
Article
Species identification through noninvasive sampling is increasingly used in animal conservation genetics, given that it obviates the need to handle free-living individuals. Noninvasive sampling is particularly valuable for elusive and small species such as rodents. Although rodents are not usually assumed to be the most obvious target for conservat...
Article
Species identification through noninvasive sampling is increasingly used in animal conservation genetics, given that it obviates the need to handle free‐living individuals. Noninvasive sampling is particularly valuable for elusive and small species such as rodents. Although rodents are not usually assumed to be the most obvious target for conservat...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The AGRIVOLE project will assess the responses of vole communities to agroecosystem structure and agricultural practices, by combining ecological tools and high throughput DNA sequencing techniques. We will analyse the effects of different population regulatory processes and evaluate how community responses may affect the potential for pest outbreaks or impact the resilience of vole species of conservation concern. The focus will be on the vole community of northeastern Portugal agroecosystems, a species rich system where vole pests have significant economic impact on fruit tree orchards. We will use data already collected by our team on voles’ distribution in the region, complemented with detailed plant and vole surveys, including trophic niche analyses, across agroecosystems with different structures and management treatments. We expect the results obtained to contribute significantly to foster sustainable agricultural techniques linking pest management to biodiversity conservation.
Project
Studies of the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity have revealed large impacts on species distribution and abundance patterns. Although they provide important conservation guidelines to counteract the negative impacts of habitat fragmentation, inferences from these studies are mostly correlative, and inherently unable to identify causation. A greater focus on the demographic and behavioural processes that determine species vulnerability to fragmentation is thus required to properly understand population viability in human-dominated landscapes. Key, relevant, within-population processes affecting reproductive success and thus population persistence include social interactions, mating systems, and the formation of kin-structures. Our thesis is that the impacts of habitat fragmentation on species social and mating systems predict how individual behaviours impact population viability. We expect fragmentation will critically affect the population performance of species employing monogamous mating system, because such species are notoriously more susceptible to stochasticity and prone to extinction events than those species exhibiting polygamous or polygynous mating systems. In this project we will use parentage and genetic relatedness analysis combined with non-invasive genetics to answer fundamental questions with populations of the monogamous Iberian endemic Cabrera vole in SW Portugal fragmented landscapes. In particular, we will use species-specific microsatellite markers and genotyping protocols recently developed and optimized for faecal samples to test the general prediction that habitat fragmentation impacts on the social structure and mating systems, reducing reproductive success, and thus the likelihood of population long-term persistence. We will deploy these techniques on a large number of archived as well as newly collected samples from landscapes differing in fragmentation levels. We will then use both empirical- and simulation-based modelling techniques to commend conservation prescriptions for defeating the impacts of habitat fragmentation on social interactions and mating strategies employed by monogamous species in fragmented landscapes.