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Comparative phylogeography of the Sahara-Sahel



Quick facts

Project title: 
Comparative phylogeography of the Sahara-Sahel: integrating spatial and temporal approaches to understand biodiversity dynamics in deserts and arid regions
ZFMK Project lead: 
Object of research: 
Sahara-Sahel, Biodiversity dynamics, desert, arid regions


This work aims to understand the biogeographic and biodiversity dynamics driven by Plio-Pleistocene dry/humid climatic cycles in the Sahara-Sahel desert. The main objectives are to test: i) climate-induced allopatric speciation as the main diversification agent; ii) biodiversity refugia and dispersal corridors; iii) relationships between genetic diversity and environmental-dependent taxa persistence in refugia. I examine whether genetic/spatial isolation is strong in low dispersal ability taxa, and whether taxa-specific habitat requirements are related to distinct spatial/temporal locations of refugia and of dispersal corridor dynamics. I integrate distribution, climate, and genetic data from >30 co-distributed taxa with different dispersal abilities and habitat traits. I compare predicted refugia by genetic variability and species distribution modelling, while controlling for taxa-specific dispersal and habitat traits.


Contact person

PhD student
+49 228 9122-253
+49 228 9122-212
andre.v.l [at]