The LEGAL laboratory is located at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM), Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. Being situated in the heart of the Amazon basin has some disadvantages, but also many advantages when it comes to biodiversity studies.
Research in the LEGAL laboratory relies on the use of molecular data (DNA sequences, microsatellites, RADs), bioinformatics and ecological modeling to study patterns and processes of diversification of Amazonian vertebrates. Although we started with freshwater taxa, we have diversified our studies to other vertebrate groups. The main study groups are thus fishes, crocodiles, lizards and snakes, frogs, dolphins, primates, rodents and marsupials, but we also have projects with raptors, carnivores and bats. Additionally we are interested in the genetic architecture of adaptation, speciation and hybridization. Nearly all studies are done in an ecological context, and have laboratory and field components.
Some key research programs include:
1) Biogeography, phylogeography and population genetics/genomics of Amazonian aquatic vertebrates
2) Biodiversity analyses, and phylogenetic community structuring of Amazonian vertebrates
3) Hybridization and hybrid zones in Amazonian vertebrates
4) Analysis of the genetic architecture of adaptive differences between closely related species