Finished and ongoing projects

Currently we have embarked on two research endevours:



The successful establishment of species in novel environment depends on the capacity of individuals to cope with the novel conditions. Understanding the microevolutionary processes underlying rapid adaptive evolution and the way selection shapes phenotypic divergence in natural populations remains one of the major goals of evolutionary biology. In the proposed project we leverage the relatively well known colonisation history, and knowledge on ecologically induced phenotypic divergence of populations of the lizard Podarcis sicula that inhabit islands of the Lastovo archipelago (Adriatic) to study the evolutionary events driving rapid phenotypic shifts in populations encountering novel environments. Briefly, in 1971 a transplant experiment was conducted in which five pairs of P. sicula were introduced from their native island Pod Kopište onto a nearby islet, Pod Mrčaru. In 35 years since their introduction those populations exhibited spectacular phenotypic divergence in morphology and ecology, linked to a dietary shift from an insectivorous to an omnivorous diet. This project aims to identify if this phenotypic shift is due to genetic changes or phenotypic plasticity, and to investigate additional populations to understand how rapid phenotypic divergence and population bottlenecks influence genomic divergence amongst P. sicula populations. The experimental and analytical framework based on common garden experiments and population genomics will enable us to test whether 1) the rapidly evolved and adaptive phenotypic traits that facilitate a dietary shift in lizards from Pod Mrčaru have a genetic basis, and 2) if strong selection and population bottlenecks left distinct signatures of genomic divergence between populations.

Team members and research group

Anamaria Štambuk, asst. prof.1
Anthony Herrel, dr.2
Duje Lisičić, asst. prof.1
Zoran Tadić, asst. prof.1
Maja Šrut, dr.1
Oscar Mira Perez, dr.1
Jessica Stapley, dr.3
Stuart Dennis, dr.4
Miguel Baltazar-Soares, dr.5
Ivan Cizelj 6

1. University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Croatia
2. UMR 7179 C.N.R.S/M.N.H.N., Département d'Ecologie et de Gestion de la Biodiversité, France
3. ETH Zurich, Switzerland
4. Department of Aquatic Ecology, Eawag, Switzerland
5. Bournemouth University, UK
6. Zagreb Zoo, Maksimirski perivoj bb, Zagreb, Croatia

Currently in its initiall phase...



In this era of fast global change, defining connectivity and adaptive potential of exploited marine stocks while estimating social impacts of change to the livelihood of those who directly exploit the resource are challenging but key requirements towards sustainability of fisheries. Yet, these three levels of information are not captured by traditional management practices: boundaries of stocks are perceived as static, stocks are considered as non-evolving units, and local stakeholders are seldom accounted for at the decision-making level. Here, we create a Mediterranean-based network to include local stakeholders, social scientists and fisheries scientists to deliver a framework that will refine the efficiency of fisheries management. The project includes cutting edge genomics techniques that provide high resolution insights in the connectivity and adaptation, and local stakeholder involvement through all the phases of the framework to promote the capacity building and knowledge transfer between fishermen and scientists. The concept will hold on to a strong social component that will act as a vehicle to bridge and disseminate. This bottom-up approach to fisheries management will permit the identification of fishing areas critical to preserve, both from a scientific and from a social perspective, extensively contributing to the sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries.

This projects aims to design a Mediterranean-based network that relies on robust social framework and cutting edge evolutionary science for future implementation of bottom up approach into fishery management. The overarching goal is to promote knowledge transfer between evolutionary scientists and local fishery stakeholders towards sustainable fisheries management.

Team members and research group

Anamaria Štambuk 1
Rute Cegonho 2
Sasa Raicevich 3
Joan B. Company 4
Jaksa Bozanic 5

1. University of Zagreb (PMF), Croatia
2. Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), Portugal
3. Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Italy
4. Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain
5. Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development (SUNCE), Croatia

Current status and project deliverables can be found at: