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Dr Elizabeth Clare

Location: Room 5.03, Fogg Building
Phone: +44 (0)20 7882 5687

Areas of focus:

  1. Biodiversity: Systematics, Phylogeny and Phylogeography of Neotropical Bats - I am interested in the reasons why species exist in certain locations and not in others. I employ several genetic markers (mitochondrial, Y-chromosome, nuclear, coding, non-coding) to test the limits of species ranges, the role of male and female gene flow, major geological barriers to gene flow and thus potential hotspots for diversification. In particular I am interested in the role of echolocation in the diversification of neotropical bats and I am conducting systematic analyses of eleven bat genera.
  2. Molecular Ecology and Bat Diet: The evolution of specialization has many repercussions for conservation and animal behaviour including niche partitioning, habitat use and predatory-prey co-evolution. I am interested in the role of specialization and generalization of predators and their prey and the role of bats in seed dispersal and pollination. I use a variety of techniques to track food webs in both tropical and temperate systems to investigate ecosystem functioning and evolution, including the latest next generation sequencing technologies for extracting DNA in dietary analyses and environmental sequencing.
  3. Molecular Evolution: The mitochondrial genome is an excellent system for the study of molecular evolution as recent investigations have suggested that this genome evolves very differently than nuclear DNA, and may not obey the principles of the nearly neutral theory of evolution. I have been studying the evolution of mitochondrial DNA in both vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, particularly: 1) rate heterogeneity, selection, genetic draft or "sweep" events in neotropical mammals, 2) the frequency of selective sweeps across all metazoan species and 3) the role of ultraviolet radiation exposure on mitochondrial molecular evolution in planktonic invertebrates.
  4. Evolutionary Computation: The emerging field of evolutionary computation allows use of computational models to understand biological processes. In particular I am using evolutionary computation and the discipline of "artificial life" to understand the relative importance of reproductive isolating barriers and the evolution of "ring species". We are specifically interested in the factors which promote their formation, stability and eventual collapse.

Personal website:

Research department

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