Miguel Camacho

Dissertation project:

 Diversification patterns of forest-dependent vertebrates in Sundaland

I study the diversification of mammals in Sundaland. I want to understand the role the topography and the geological history have played in generating and maintaining the biodiversity on this region. I am using DNA sequences to describe the neutral variation of some groups across the region. I have focused on Sundamys, a group of rats, as a model to evaluate the effect that sea level fluctuations and vegetations changes in the recent geological past have had on shaping the biodiversity on this region. I will compare neutral variation to other genes involved in adaptation to high altitude to study how and when mammal communities endemic to mountains on this region have formed. I have participated in two field expeditions to Borneo to collect animal samples for genetic analysis. My work also involves collaborations with other groups that do fieldwork on this region and working with museum specimens. We are using novel strategies to sequence mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from recent and museum samples using high-throughput platforms.

I am interested in collaborating with people that is working on describing biodiversity on Southeast Asia or is currently doing fieldwork in Sundaland to share resources.

FPI scholarship 2011
FPI scholarship 2011

Advisor: Jennifer Leonard (EBD-CSIC)
Co-advisor: Jesus Maldonado (National Zoo, US


Curse on high-throughput sequencing

Tutoring of master student:

Expedition to Borneo, spring 2013

Tamboyucon team

GunungTamboyucon, 2400 masl

Expedition to Borneo, summer 2012

I joined an expedition to Mount Tamboyucon, Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Borneo. We trapped small mammals at different altitudes (300m - 2400m) for two months isolated in the forest. We sampled tissue and took external measurements from more than 20 small mammal species.

Campsite Gunung Tamboyucon
Rat in trap

Short stay 2011, National Zoo, Washington DC

I met Melissa T. Roberts, another PhD student who is working with me on the same project, and my co-advisor Jesus Maldonado at the National Zoo. I had the great opportunity of visiting the mammal collection at the National Museum of Natural History with Kris Helgen. They have a great representation of Sundaland mammals. I was struck with the specimen of a new species of a giant rat discovered while the BBC filming of the Lost Land of the Volcano. These visit and meetings were fundamental to decide start working on Sundaland rats.

Giant Rat while BBC filming

Miguel Camacho Sánchez

Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group
Dept. of Integrative Ecology
Doñana Biological Station-CSIC

Mailing address:

Miguel Camacho Sánchez
Estación Biológica de Doñana
Avda. Americo Vespucio sn
41092, Sevilla

Group webpage: www.consevol.org/
Institution webpage: http://www.ebd.csic.es/

Comparison of different buffers to preserve DNA and RNA in field conditions

We tested different buffers to preserve DNA and RNA in field conditions to use them in Borneo. The results were published in Molecular Ecology Resources:

Camacho‐Sanchez, M., Burraco, P., Gomez‐Mestre, I., & Leonard, J. A. (2013). Preservation of RNA and DNA from mammal samples under field conditions. Molecular Ecology Resources, 13(4), 663-673. (pdf)

Why to study  rats? they are nasty and carry diseases!

This is probably true for a handful of species that live associated to human settlements. However, most rat species live in wild habitats and play very important roles on their ecosystems. You should have a look at this video to understand better: