Phd project

Biodiversity value of the Coastal Forests of East Africa

I am conducting a large-scale study into amphibians (mainly frogs) found throughout the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa (CFEA), a poorly understood global biodiversity hotspot. In 2013-2014 I collected tissue samples from across the entire coastal region in Tanzania, and with tissue loans from museums and collaborators I have created a large DNA barcoding database of the CFEA. I am using phylogenetic methods such as Lineage Range Estimation (Rosauer et al. 2015), and CANAPE (Mishler et al. 2014) to pinpoint areas that are particularly high in endemism and assess how well protected these are by the current protected area network.

Additionally I am using Next Generation Sequencing (RAD-seq) to elucidate the evolutionary relationships between highly differentiated populations belonging to four poorly understood species groups. I use high resolution phylogenetic trees and demographic data combined with environmental data and species distribution models to investigate different hypotheses of speciation (recent colonisation of forests from adjacent refugial areas vs. older radiations from coastal forest relicts).

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Using NGS data I am investigating speciation in the Coastal forests of Eastern Africa (CFEA) and adjacent Eastern Afromontane region (EAR).