Research labs

Systematics, Biogeography and Evolution of Reptiles lab

The research of this lab focuses on the application of reptile and amphibian phylogenies to understand how biodiversity is generated and maintained. There is also a focus on inferring the biogeographical and evolutionary patterns of the groups studied, to revise their taxonomy and conserve them. Although the research carried out by this lab include the study of many different reptile and amphibian groups, its main interest is the faunas of the Mediterranean Basin and Arabia, including some oceanic and continental islands, such as the Canary and Cape Verde islands and the Socotra Archipelago.

Principal investigator: Salvador Carranza

Members of the lab: Albert Carné, Master Student; Duarte Gonçalves, PhD Student; Joana Mendes, PhD Student; Pelagia Mitsi, PhD Student; Morgan Hoftijzer, Master Student; Kornilios Panagiotis, Postdoctoral Researcher; Marc Simó-Riudalbas,PhD Student; Alexander Slavenko, Visiting PhD Student; Karin Tamar, Postdoctoral Researcher; Pedro Tarroso, Postdoctoral Researcher; Héctor Tejero, PhD Student, and Raquel Vasconcelos, Postdoctoral Researcher.

Oral presentations and talks given: 6

Main publications and other research activities:

Simó-Riudalbas M, Metallinou M, de Pous P, Els J, Jayasinghe S, Péntek-Zakar E, Wilms T, Al-Saadi S, Carranza S. (2017) Cryptic diversity in Ptyodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from the northern Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates uncovered by an integrative taxonomic approach PLOS ONE 12: e0180397.

Garcia-Porta J, Simó-Riudalbas M, Robinson M, Carranza S. (2017) Diversification in arid mountains: biogeography and cryptic diversity of Pristurus rupestris rupestris in Arabia) Journal of Biogeography 44: 1694–1704. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12929.

Mendes J, Harris DJ, Carranza S, Salvi D. (2017) Biogeographical crossroad across the Pillars of Hercules: Evolutionary history of Psammodromus lizards in space and time. Journal of Biogeography 44: 2877–2890.

Kindlker C, de Pous P, Carranza S, Beddek M, Geniez P, Fritz U. (2017) Phylogeography of the Ibero-Maghrebian red-eyed grass snake (Natrix astreptophora) Organism Diversity and Evolution in press.

Tarroso P, Simó-Riudalbas M, Carranza S. (2017) The complete mitochondrial genome of Pristurus rupestris rupestris. Mitochondrial DNA part B 2: 802–803.

Carvalho SB, Velo-Antón G, Tarroso P, Paula Portela A, Barata M, Carranza S, Moritz C, Possingham HP. (2017) Spatial conservation prioritization of biodiversity spanning the evolutionary continuum) Nature Ecology and Evolution 1: 0151.

Šmíd J, Shobrak M, Wilms T, Joger U, and Carranza S. (2017) Endemic diversification in the mountains: genetic, morphological, and geographical differentiation of the Hemidactylus geckos in southwestern Arabia Organisms Diversity and Evolution 17: 267–285 DOI 10.1007/s13127-016-0293-3.

Valbuena-Ureña E, Soler-Membrives A, Steinfartz S, Alonso M, Carbonell F, Larios-Martin R, Obon E, Carranza S. (2017) Getting off to a good start? Genetic evaluation of the ex situ conservation project of the Critically Endangered Montseny Brook Newt (Calotriton arnoldi) PeerJ 5: e3447.

Valbuena-Ureña E, Soler-Membrives A, Steinfartz S, Orozco-terWengel P, Carranza S. (2017) No signs of inbreeding despite long-term isolation and habitat fragmentation in the critically endangered Montseny brook newt (Calotriton arnoldi) Heredity 118: 424–435. doi:10.1038/hdy.2016.123.

Martín J, Mateus C, García-Roa R, Ortega J, Carranza S. (2017) Phylogenetic relationships of the Chalcides skink species from the Chafarinas Islands with those from mainland North Africa Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 71: 187–192.

Main outreach activities:

First Scientific workshop on Evolutionary Biology 2017 – Amphibians and Reptiles

Use of molecular tools in biodiversity studies and conservation: inference of phylogenetic trees using DNA sequences.

Scientific activity open to non-specialized public in which they learned how to use phylogenetic tools in conservation. There were also talks about the reptiles and amphibians of Catalonia and a night field trip to a nature reserve to observe some amphibians. Saturday 11 November 2017. Escola de Natura de Parets.

Parets del Vallès, Barcelona. There were five members of the rlab organizing this activity.

The lab was involved in the Joves i Ciència programme of the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation

Research activity – Món Natura Pirineus 2017. 26 June – 8 July 2017

One member of the lab participated in this activity that included theoretical lectures, hands on laboratory work (research project) and field work.

Funding (active projects in 2017 only):

Name of the project An integrative approach to the conservation of the endangered Arabian populations of the gecko Teratoscincus keyserlingii
Principal investigator Salvador Carranza
Funding institution Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund


Name of the project Arabian reptiles as a model to investigate how biodiversity is generated and maintained in arid areas
Principal investigator Salvador Carranza
Funding institution Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (CGL2015-70390-P)


Name of the project Animal Biology and Evolution
Principal investigator Salvador Carranza
Funding institution Generalitat de Catalunya (AGAUR) (2014SGR1532)

More information: Systematics, Biogeography and Evolution of Reptiles lab’s website

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