Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology


PhD student

CBA research group(s):

Experimental Evolution

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Marta Santos

Main Research Interests

My main research interests are in natural selection and genetic drift the two major forces that can drive evolutionary change. It is well-known that population size is very relevant for both mechanisms. Nevertheless, little is known about how much genetic drift interacts with natural selection as a function of population size, previous evolutionary history, or ongoing selection. To tackle these issues requires populations of known differentiated histories, populations on which in turn selection is imposed with contrasting population sizes. My PhD project involves laboratory populations of Drosophila melanogaster with controlled and replicated histories of selection. The study of their evolutionary dynamics after imposition of new selection regimes, both at small and at large population sizes, as well as later crossing of populations from the same regime, will help resolve the interaction between genetic drift and natural selection, as a function of both previous and present selective and demographic histories.


Academic Qualifications

- 2008: M.Sc. in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology (University of Lisbon)

- 2007: B.Sc. in Biology (University of Lisbon)

Recent Publications

Matos M., Simões P., Santos M.A., Seabra S.G., Faria G.S., Vala F., Santos J. & Fragata I. 2015. History, chance and selection during phenotypic and genomic experimental evolution: replaying the tape of life at different levels. Front. Gene. 6:71. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00071​

Fragata I., Lopes-Cunha M.,  Bárbaro M., Kellen B.,  Lima M., Santos M. A., Faria G. S., Santos M., Matos M. &  Simões P. 2014. How much can history constrain adaptive evolution? A real time evolutionary approach of inversion polymorphisms in Drosophila subobscura. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27(12):2727-2738.

Mueller L.D., Joshi A., Santos M. & Rose M.R. 2013. Effective population size and evolutionary dynamics in outbred laboratory populations of Drosophila. Journal of Genetics 92(3):349-361.​

Santos J., Pascual M., Simões P., Fragata I., Lima M., Kellen B., Santos M., Marques A., Rose M.R. & Matos M. 2012. From nature to the lab: the impact of founder effects on adaptation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25:2607-2622.

Santos M., Fragata I., Santos J., Simões P., Marques A., Lima M. & Matos M. 2010. Playing Darwin. Part B. 20 years of domestication in Drosophila subobscura. Theory in Biosciences 129(2/3): 97-102.

Ongoing Projects

  • Evolutionary dynamics of small versus large-size populations: the interaction of genetic drift with natural selection – PhD project


Other Information

- Membro da European Society for Evolutionary Biology e da Society for the Study of Evolution