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Dr Mario Fernández-Mazuecos

Post Doctoral Research Associate
Dr Mario Fernández-Mazuecos
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 333934


Mario joined the lab in April 2014 as a Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellow following a PhD at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. He developed his doctoral research at the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid. His research interests are focused on investigating evolutionary patterns and processes of vascular plants, both at the macro- and micro-evolutionary levels. To this end, he applies phylogenetic and phylogeographic methods, as well as evo-devo approaches and species distribution modelling. His specific research topics include: flower evolution and its relationship with insect pollinators; speciation and colonization in the Mediterranean and Macaronesian regions; the effect of Quaternary climatic cycles on species distributions and evolution; and the relationship between phylogeny and conservation biology.

In his current project, he aims to get insight into plant speciation by using a clade of eight Iberian bifid toadflaxes (Linaria sect. Versicolores) as a model system, and applying a multidisciplinary approach. Particular attention will be paid to investigating the role of evolutionary variation in the length of nectar spurs in mediating speciation, as nectar spurs have been previously hypothesized as a key innovation promoting speciation in angiosperms. Three objectives will be addressed: (1) to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships within the study clade using Next-Generation Sequencing data; (2) to investigate the components of reproductive isolation among species, including pre-pollination (pollinators, environmental niche) and post-pollination breeding barriers; and (3) to understand the genetic and developmental basis of spur length variation, putatively involved in speciation. In the end, all generated data will be integrated in order to understand speciation mechanisms in Linaria sect. Versicolores.

Key Publications

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Jiménez-Mejías P, Martín-Bravo S, Buide ML, Álvarez I, Vargas P (2016). Narrow endemics on coastal plains: Miocene divergence of the critically endangered genus Avellara (Compositae). Plant Biology 18(4): 729–738.

Jiménez-Mejías P, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Amat ME, Vargas P (2015). Narrow endemics in European mountains: high genetic diversity within the monospecific genus Pseudomisopates (Plantaginaceae) despite isolation since the late Pleistocene. Journal of Biogeography 42(8): 1455–1468.

Navarro-Pérez ML, Vargas P, Fernández-Mazuecos M, López J, Valtueña FJ, Ortega-Olivencia A (2015). Multiple windows of colonization to Macaronesia by the dispersal-unspecialized Scrophularia since the Late Miocene. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 17(4): 263–273.

Glover BJ, Airoldi CA, Brockington SF, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Martínez-Pérez C, Mellers G, Moyroud E, Taylor L (2015). How have advances in comparative floral development influenced our understanding of floral evolution? International Journal of Plant Sciences 176(4): 307–323.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P (2015). Quaternary radiation of bifid toadflaxes (Linaria sect. Versicolores) in the Iberian Peninsula: low taxonomic signal but high geographic structure of plastid DNA lineages. Plant Systematics and Evolution 301(5): 1411–1423.

Vigalondo B, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P, Sáez L (2015). Unmasking cryptic species: morphometric and phylogenetic analyses of the Ibero-North African Linaria incarnata complex. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 177(3): 395–417.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Jiménez-Mejías P, Rotllan-Puig X, Vargas P (2014). Narrow endemics to Mediterranean islands: moderate genetic diversity but narrow climatic niche of the ancient, critically endangered Naufraga (Apiaceae). Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 16(4): 190–202.

Vargas P, Valente LM, Blanco-Pastor JL, Liberal I, Guzmán B, Cano E, Forrest A, Fernández-Mazuecos M (2014). Testing the biogeographical congruence of palaeofloras using molecular phylogenetics: snapdragons and the Madrean-Tethyan flora. Journal of Biogeography 41(5): 932-943.

Escudero M, Martín-Bravo S, Mayrose I, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Fiz-Palacios O, Hipp AL, Pimentel M, Jiménez-Mejías P, Valcárcel V, Vargas P, Luceño M (2014). Karyotypic changes through dysploidy persist longer over evolutionary time than polyploid changes. PLOS ONE 9(1): e85266.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Blanco-Pastor JL, Gómez JM, Vargas P (2013). Corolla morphology influences diversification rates in bifid toadflaxes (Linaria sect. Versicolores). Annals of Botany 112(9): 1705-1722.

Navarro-Pérez ML, López J, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Rodríguez-Riaño T, Vargas P, Ortega-Olivencia A (2013). The role of birds and insects in pollination shifts of Scrophularia (Scrophulariaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69(1): 239-254.

Blanco-Pastor JL, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P (2013). Past and future demographic dynamics of alpine species: limited genetic consequences despite dramatic range contraction in a plant from the Spanish Sierra Nevada. Molecular Ecology 22(16): 4177-4195.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P (2013). Congruence between distribution modelling and phylogeographical analyses reveals Quaternary survival of a toadflax species (Linaria elegans) in oceanic climate areas of a mountain ring range. New Phytologist 198(4): 1274-1289.

Besnard G, Khadari B, Navascués M, Fernández-Mazuecos M, El Bakkali A, Arrigo N, Baali-Cherif D, Brunini-Bronzini de Caraffa V, Santoni S, Vargas P, Savolainen V (2013). The complex history of the olive tree: from Late Quaternary diversification of Mediterranean lineages to primary domestication in the northern Levant. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280(1756): 20122833.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Blanco-Pastor JL, Vargas P (2013). A phylogeny of toadflaxes (Linaria Mill.) based on nuclear internal transcribed spacer sequences: systematic and evolutionary consequences. International Journal of Plant Sciences 174(2): 234-249.

Vargas P, Ornosa C, Blanco-Pastor JL, Romero D, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Rodríguez-Gironés MA (2013). En búsqueda de áreas de diversidad genética en Sierra Nevada: Análisis de plantas y abejas. In: Ramírez L, Asensio B (eds.). Proyectos de investigación en parques nacionales: 2009-2012, pp. 123-142. Madrid: Organismos Autónomo de Parques Nacionales. ISBN 978-84-8014-853-5.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P (2011). Historical isolation versus recent long-distance connections between Europe and Africa in bifid toadflaxes (Linaria sect. Versicolores). PLOS ONE 6(7): e22234.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P (2011). Genetically depauperate in the continent but rich in oceanic islands: Cistus monspeliensis (Cistaceae) in the Canary Islands. PLOS ONE 6(2): e17172.

Domínguez Lozano F, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Hernández Bermejo JE, Herranz Sanz JM, Moreno Saiz JC (2011). Vella pseudocytisus L. en España y el norte de África. In: Moreno Saiz JC, Guzmán Otano D, Domínguez Lozano F (eds.). Biología de la conservación de Vella pseudocytisus subsp. paui, una planta amenazada en Aragón, pp. 91-117. Zaragoza: Consejo de Protección de la Naturaleza de Aragón. ISBN 978-84-89862-79-1.

Fernández-Mazuecos M, Vargas P (2010). Ecological rather than geographical isolation dominates Quaternary formation of Mediterranean Cistus species. Molecular Ecology 19(7): 1381-1395.

Jubera E, Fernández-Mazuecos M, Estébanez B, Vassal’lo J (2009). Comunidades de cianobacterias bentónicas en el enclave de El Pozo Azul (Karst de Burgos). In: Llamas García F, Acedo Casado C (eds.). Botánica pirenaico-cantábrica en el siglo XXI, pp. 61-80. León: Universidad de León. ISBN 978-84-9773-471-4.

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