Andrea Estandia

Andrea Estandia


Name: Andrea Estandia
Position: DPhil student (Environmental Research NERC DTP)


I graduated from the University of Oviedo with a BSc (Hons) in Biology and from Durham University with an MRes in Biological Sciences. For my MRes project I explored the phylogenomics of the order Procellariiformes using genome-wide data. I also had the opportunity to explore whether different substitution rates product of disparities in body size and life-history traits were biasing phylogenetic inference.

Before joining the Environmental Research NERC DTP in 2019 I worked at the Max Planck Institute and at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria in projects involving population genomics.


Widespread organisms that display high morphological and behavioural diversity offer a treasure trove for understanding the generation of biodiversity. Yet, they also represent a conundrum because excellent dispersal abilities are required to explain their wide distributions, but simultaneously, reduced dispersal levels are needed to explain the observed diversity. This is known as the ‘paradox of the great speciators’. Genomic approaches provide the tools to ask if changes in dispersal propensity have a genetic underpinning via genome-wide association studies (GWAS) applied to an appropriate empirical system where individuals vary in their dispersal. The silvereye (a bird; Zosterops lateralis), a member of a ‘great speciator’ group, provides an ideal system because it displays the full spectrum of dispersal abilities across its range, from sedentary populations to dispersive and partial-migrant populations. For my DPhil I will determine if genomic variation within populations provides the raw material for rapid shifts in dispersal propensity seen across silvereyes, providing a mechanistic understanding of this enduring paradox.

I am supervised by Sonya Clegg from the Department of Zoology and Bruce Robertson from the University of Otago.