Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology



CBA research group(s):

Evolutionary Genetics

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Natacha Mesquita

Main Research Interests

Along my scientific research activities I have been mainly interested in understanding the evolutionary processes that shape, at different time and geographic scales, the patterns of genetic diversity in animal populations, promoting differentiation and eventually speciation. As study models I have been working with different aquatic organisms and systems, focusing in particular in Iberian endemic freshwater fish species, and applying various genetic markers rendering at different scales. More recently, as a result of research work at the “Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência” (Lisbon, Portugal; and I have became interested in the use of natural history collections in genetic studies. Specifically, I have started a study that aims to address the temporal changes in genetic diversity patterns of threatened Iberian endemic freshwater fish species, using natural history collection specimens and microsatellites as molecular markers.


Academic Qualifications

- 2006 - PhD in Evolutionary Biology (University of Lisbon)
- 1997 - 5 year college graduation in Biology - (Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon)


Recent Publications

Aboim M. A., Mesquita N., Drago M., Coelho M. M. & Alves M.J. 2013. Assessing inter-drainage connections: patterns of genetic diversity in an Iberian cyprinid fish. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 109(3):656–669.

Lopes-Cunha M., Aboim M.A., Mesquita N., Alves M.J., Doadrio I. & Coelho M.M. 2012. Population genetic structure in the Iberian cyprinid fish Iberochondrostoma lemmingii (Steindachner, 1866): disentangling species fragmentation and colonization processes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 105:559-572.

Madeira C., Alves M.J., Mesquita N., Silva S.E. & Paula J. 2012. Tracing geographical patterns of population differentiation in a widespread mangrove gastropod: genetic and geometric morphometrics surveys along the eastern African coast. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 107:647-663.

Silva I. C., Mesquita N. & Paula J. 2010. Genetic and morphological differentiation of the mangrove crab Perisesarma guttatum (Brachyura: Sesarmidae) along an East African latitudinal gradient. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 99:28-46.

Silva I.C., Mesquita N.& Paula J. 2010. Lack of population structure in the fiddler crab Uca annulipes along an East African latitudinal gradient: genetic and morphometric evidence. Marine Biology 157(5):1113-1126.

Silva I.C., Mesquita N., Schubart C.D., Alves M.J. & Paula J. 2009. Genetic patchiness of the shore crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus along the Portuguese coast. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 378:50-57.

Mesquita N., Cunha C., Carvalho G.R. & Coelho M.M. 2007. Comparative phylogeography of endemic cyprinids in the south-west Iberian Peninsula: evidence for a new ichthyogeographic area. Journal of Fish Biology 71:45-75.

Mesquita N., Coelho M.M. & Magalhães M.F. 2006. Spatial variation in fish assemblages across small Mediterranean drainages: effects of habitat and landscape context. Environmental Biology of Fishes 77:105-120.

Mesquita N., Hänfling B. , Carvalho G.R. & Coelho M.M. 2005. Phylogeography of the cyprinid Squalius aradensis and implications for conservation of the endemic freshwater fauna of southern Portugal. Molecular Ecology 14:1939–1954.

Coelho M.M., Mesquita N. & Collares-Pereira M.J. 2005. Chondrostoma almacai, a new cyprinid species from the southwest of Portugal, Iberian Peninsula. Folia Zoologica 54(1-2):201-212.

Mesquita N., Cunha C., Hänfling B., Carvalho G.R., Zé-Zé L., Tenreiro L. & Coelho M.M. 2003. Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in the endangered Portuguese freshwater fish Squalius aradensis (Cyprinidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 3:572-574.

Cunha C., Mesquita N., Dowling T., Guilles A. & Coelho M.M. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of Eurasian and American Cyprinids using cytochrome b sequences. Journal of Fish Biology 61:929-944.

Mesquita N., Carvalho G., Shaw P., Crespo E. & Coelho M.M. 2001. River basin-related genetic structuring in an endangered fish species, Chondrostoma lusitanicum, based on mtDNA sequencing and RFLP analysis. Heredity 86:253-264.

Other Information

Curator of the tissue and DNA collection and assistant curator of the fish collection at the “Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência” (Lisbon, Portugal)

Referee: Acta Zoologica Sinica, Aquatic Ecology, Biological Conservation, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Biology of Fishes, Journal of Fish Biology, Molecular Ecology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Prizes: 1993, third prize for the first year student that finish the 1st year with the best grades, awarded by the Foundation of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon.