Dr Africa Gomez 2Dr Africa Gómez

My research centres on the interface between population genetics, phylogeography and the evolution of reproductive modes. I am particularly interested in the effects of migration-drift disequilibrium, which is a common situation in many organisms, on evolutionary processes. Most of my research focus on passively dispersed aquatic invertebrates (including rotifers, Notostracans, Bryozoans,  Anostracans).

As part of this interest, I investigate the colonization process and the evolutionary forces involved in it, such as local adaptation, inbreeding and migration. This is a research area in which aquatic invertebrates are particularly powerful study systems because of their diverse reproductive modes, short generation time, and ability both to culture large numbers in the laboratory and recreate suitable habitats.

Importantly also since they have long-lived dormant resting eggs, experimental animals can be competed against their ancestors. I apply molecular techniques to address fundamental questions concerning the evolutionary dynamics of cyclically parthenogenetic organisms and other passively dispersed aquatic invertebrates. Part of this work developed the novel analysis of historical samples from resting egg banks. Due to the abundance of cryptic species in my research organisms, I have extensively used DNA barcoding either as a discovery tool or as a preliminary step before screening particular species.