Das Leibniz-Institut zur Analyse des Biodiversitätswandels

ist ein Forschungsmuseum der Leibniz Gemeinschaft

Dr. Marko Lazić

E-Mail: marko.m.lazic [at] gmail.com




I am an evolutionary biologist mainly interested in the evolution of phenotypic diversity. As my main model system I use lizards of the Lacertidae family. Currently, I am focused on exploring how lacertid lizards evolved in cranial shape space. I use an integrated approach which combines cutting-edge tools of geometric morphometrics with those of evolutionary quantitative genetics and comparative phylogenetic methods to perform research that will bring us closer to answering some of the most important questions in biology: How do complex morphological traits change across evolutionary time scales? How important is the role of natural selection and inheritance in phenotypic diversification? What are the proximate (developmental) processes responsible for morphological diversification? Using this unified approach and investigating morphological variation and covariation patterns (e.g. morphological integration, modularity and allometry) in a broad phylogenetic context does not only provide us with the knowledge of how organismal form evolved but also allows us to decipher the developmental mechanisms responsible. By exploring these issues we may be closer to understanding how flexible developmental mechanisms are but also how natural selection, inheritance and development influence morphological evolution.
In my previous work I investigated how environmental disturbance affects phenotypic variation of lizard head shape. In continuation to this work I now conduct research that will evaluate the effects of hybridization on developmental stability, canalization and allometry in lizard head shape. By combining methods of evolutionary quantitative genetics with those of statistical shape analysis I am also investigating if there is a heritable genetic component in head shape asymmetry and meristic trait asymmetry.


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