Geologic processes that occurred during the last ice age have produced nearly 1.050 lakes in the Pyrenees. These isolated and fragile ecosystems have undergone significant changes in recent decades resulting from increased human presence. For example, the massive introduction of predatory fish has extinguished most of the Pyrenean newt populations (Calotriton asper), especially neotenics, who inhabited the Pyrenean lakes.
The development of DNA technology has been allowing bigger progress in knowledge of the tree of life. Apart from discovering the ancestral relationships among species of living amphibians and reptiles, is also the evolutionary analysis in morphologic, ecologic and behavioral diversfied groups (adaptive radiations). Our work is based in very different groups as Mantellid frogs of Madagascar, Australian geckos or Lacertid lizards and is done with collaboration with Dr. Salvador Carranza (Institute of Evolutionary Biology-CSIC) and Miguel Vences (Technical University of Braunschweig).
Pyrenean mountains are a climatic and biogeographic exception within Iberian Peninsula. Their herpetofauna is the final result of combining endemism with a community of species adapted to mediterranean climate or humid and temperate climate. We investigate the effects of constraints derived from extreme environmental conditions in high mountain habitats on amphibians and reptiles morphology, ecology and demography using species as Aurelio’s lizard (Iberolacerta aurelioi), sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) or Pyrenean newt (Calotriton asper).
Species descriptions or taxonomic changes based on molecular tools, but also in morphologic analyses are necessary to understand which levels of biodiversity are important in conservation politics. My research is focused in snake taxonomy and especially in stream mountain newts.
The Montseny newt (Calotriton arnoldi) is one of the two critically endangered amphibians in Europe (IUCN list). The discovery of this amphibian endemic from a small area within Europe, the Biosphere Reserve and Natural Park of Montseny, represents an important effort in researching their biology, as well as implementation of a conservation strategy. [ Follow... (not translated) ]