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J Rocha

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Joana Rocha
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I did my graduation in Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, having later obtained my MSc degree in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution at the same University. My thesis, developed at CIBIO-InBio/UP and at the MPI-EVA (Leipzig, Germany), focused on the processes that shaped the evolutionary history of an African savannah antelope (Hippotragus niger). In 2015, I worked as a research assistant at CIBIO-InBio, where I used ancient DNA methods and genomic analyses to study the past and present genetic diversity of the critically endangered Giant sable of Angola (H. n. variani).
Since then, I became increasingly interested in the mechanisms driving adaptation and evolution in natural populations. My research questions are as follows:  How can certain species survive in extreme harsh environments, harbouring extraordinary adaptations, when others are nearly extinct? What is the molecular basis of these adaptations? I have now the opportunity to address these questions during my PhD at CIBIO-InBIO where, in collaboration with UC-Berkeley, I am currently applying an interdisciplinary approach to assess the relative roles of demography and natural selection in the evolution of North African desert-dwelling fox species. By integrating ecological and evolutionary aspects of these species with cutting edge genomic tools, we expect to: i) identify and characterize the functional roles of the most relevant genes involved in adaptation to extreme arid conditions, ii) provide insights into the historical events responsible for adaptation and evolution in deserts.


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Research ID: http://www.researcherid.com/rid/L-9077-2016

ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0045-3651

PhD student