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Dr Christophe Eizaguirre

Christophe

Reader, Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes

Email: c.eizaguirre@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 882 6982
Room Number: Room 6.04, Fogg Building

Undergraduate Teaching

Postgraduate Teaching

Teaching on our Freshwater and Marine Ecology MSc:

  • Marine Mammals and Turtles (BIO794P)

Teaching on our Aquatic Ecology by Research MSc and our Freshwater and Marine Ecology MSc:

  • Quantitative Techniques for Surveying and Monitoring in Ecology (BIO795P)

Research

Research Interests:

Over the last years, I have developed an interdisciplinary research program based on evolutionary and conservation genetics. Particularly, my research interests include host-parasite interactions, speciation, and the evolution of small/endangered populations/ species.

My research focuses on three main model organisms, each allowing us to tackle very specific questions:

1. Stickleback speciation

The three-spined stickleback serves as prime example for rapid genetic divergence. Throughout the northern hemisphere, it is thought to have colonized freshwater habitats from adjacent estuarine or marine refuges following glacial retreat.

Over this short time period, ancestral marine genotypes rapidly differentiated into several ecotypes, which differ markedly in numerous morphological traits, behavior and ecology as a result of divergent selection.

In the lab, we use the stickleback to investigate the contribution of host-parasite interactions in explaining population differentiation. To this end we combine experimental approaches with next generation sequencing.

2. Conservation of marine turtles

Conservation of marine organisms is a true challenge as most remains to be discovered from the oceans which cover about 70 % of the world’s surface. Our project aims at using state-of the art molecular and telemetry techniques to develop novel conservation programs for the Cape Verde Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta).

Only recently scientists discovered that Cape Verde supports the third largest nesting population in the world. Like all Sea Turtles, the loggerhead turtles are highly endangered of extinction and listed on the Red List of the IUCN. Robust scientific monitoring and preservation of genetic diversity of the Loggerhead turtle has therefore become a crucial necessity to identify future directions of conservation efforts.

3. Evolutionary ecology of European eels

Worldwide, exploited marine fish stocks are under threat of collapse: although the drivers behind such collapses are diverse, it is becoming evident that failure to consider evolutionary processes in fisheries management can have drastic consequences on a species' long term viability.

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is no exception: not only does the collapse in recruitment observed in the 1980s remain largely unexplained, but also the punctual detection of genetic structure raises questions regarding the existence of a single panmictic population.

With its extended transatlantic dispersal, pinpointing the role of ocean dynamics is crucial to understand both the population structure and the widespread decline of this species. Hence, in this project we combine ocean dispersal simulations with population genetics tools to explore causes and consequences of changes in ocean dynamics on population genetic structures.

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