Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology



CBA research group(s):

Evolutionary Genetics

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Ana Rita Amaral

Main Research Interests

My main research interests are evolutionary genetics of cetaceans, namely delphinids. Phylogeography, phylogenetics and the molecular processes involved in speciation.


Academic Qualifications

2011 – PhD in Evolutionary Biology (University of Lisbon)
2007 – Masters in Evolutionary Biology (University of Lisbon)
2005 – Five year degree in Biology Applied to Marine Resources (University of Lisbon)


Recent Publications

Amaral A.R., Lovewell G., Coelho M.M., Amato G. & Rosenbaum H.C. 2014. Hybrid speciation in a marine mammal: The Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene). Plos One 9(1):e83645.

Stockin K.A., Amaral A.R., Latimer J., Lambert D.M. & Natoli A. 2014. Population genetic structure and taxonomy of the common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) at its southernmost range limit: New Zealand waters. Marine Mammal Science 30(1):44-63.

Amaral A.R., Beheregaray L.B., Bilgmann K., Boutov D., Freitas L., Robertson K.M., Sequeira M., Stockin K.A., Coelho M.M. & Möller L.M. 2012. Seascape genetics of a globally distributed, highly mobile marine mammal: the short-beaked common dolphin (genus Delphinus). Plos One 7(2):e31482.

Amaral A.R., Jackson J.A., Möller L.M., Beheregaray L.B. & Coelho M.M. 2012. Species Tree of a Rapid Radiation: the Subfamily Delphininae (Cetacea, Mammalia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 64:243-253.

Amaral A.R., Beheregaray L.B., Bilgmann K., Freitas L., Robertson K.M., Sequeira M., Stockin K.A., Coelho M.M. & Möller L.M. 2012. Influences of past climatic changes in the phylogeography of a cosmopolitan marine top predator, the common dolphin (genus Delphinus). Molecular Ecology 21(19):4854-4871.

Amaral A.R., Möller L.M., Beheregaray L.B. & Coelho M.M. 2011. Evolution of 2 reproductive proteins, ZP3 and PKDREJ, in cetaceans. Journal of Heredity 102(3):275-282.

Waap S., Amaral A.R., Gomes B. & Coelho M.M. 2011. Multi-locus species tree of the genus Squalius (Leuciscinae: Cyprinidae) from western Iberia: new insights into evolutionary history. Genetica 139:1009-1018.

Amaral A.R., Silva M.C., Möller L.M., Beheregaray L.B. & Coelho M.M. 2010. Anonymous nuclear markers for cetaceans. Conservation Genetics 11:1143-1146.

Amaral A.R., Coelho M.M., Marugán-Lóbon J. & Rohlf F.J. 2009. Cranial shape differentiation in three closely related delphinid cetacean species: insights into evolutionary history. Zoology 112:38-47.

Amaral A.R., Sequeira M., Martínez-Cedeira J. & Coelho M.M. 2007. New insights on population genetic structure of Delphinus delphis from the Northeast Atlantic and phylogenetic relationships within the genus inferred from two mitochondrial markers. Marine Biology 151:1967-1976.

Amaral A.R., Sequeira M. & Coelho M.M. 2007. A first approach to the usefulness of COI barcodes in the identification of closely related delphinid cetacean species. Marine and Freshwater Research 58:505-510.


Ongoing Projects

  • First molecular characterization of a recently rediscovered dolphin species: evolutionary relationships, genetic diversity and population structure of the Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene)

  • Evolutionary history of the genus Delphinus


Other Information

Reviewer for: Animal Conservation; Biological Journal of the Linnean Society; Conservation Genetics; Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology; Journal of Heredity; Marine Biology; Marine Mammal Science; The Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals - LAJAM; Zootaxa