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Dr. Hugo Gante

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Hugo F. Gante

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Arizona State University

Phone: 812-237-2405


Office: Science Building 287K

Research Interests: All things fish evolution: color pattern development, genomics, gene regulation, phylogenetics, population genetics, behavior, conservation

Our laboratory is at the interface of several fields. We use development, population genomics, phylogenetics and phylogenomics, ecology and evolution to understand how different species arise, adapt and persist in the natural and changing world. We study the interplay between ecology and genetics, and their evolutionary outcomes above and below the species level, using experimental approaches in the laboratory and in the wild, combining the strengths of different fish systems. Current projects in the laboratory include, but are not limited to:

1. Color pattern development

Color patterns are important for mediating social communication, sexual selection and to escape predation. To understand how color patterns develop and evolve in the color pattern-rich African cichlids of the genus Neolamprologus, we are combining analyses of differential gene expression between phenotypes, comparative genomics across species and populations along a continuum of genetic and phenotypic divergence, with developmental analyses of pattern formation.

2. Detection of rare aquatic species and whole community characterization using environmental DNA

Whole genome sequencing will be combined with eDNA metabarcoding and eDNA metagenomics to characterize (fish) communities in the lower Tagus River (Portugal). Applicability of eDNA metagenomics for characterizing whole communities as well as estimating population genetic measures will be assessed by comparing its results against those produced by eDNA metabarcoding and population genomics metrics estimated via traditional genetic screening of individual samples, respectively.

3. Mechanisms mediating adaptation to extreme environments

Adaptation to new, often extreme environments offers excellent opportunities to understand the mechanisms mediating evolutionary phenotypic and genetic changes. We are looking at how genomic differences between divergent populations and species translate to differences in phenotypes (e.g., life history, morphology, behavior)

We are actively recruiting enthusiastic and passionate individuals to join our lab. If you are interested in joining us in one of the current projects, or would like to bring your own research questions, contact us by email and also visit for more information.


GanteH.F. 2018. How fish get their stripes−−again and again. Science. 362: 396–397. doi: 10.1126/science.aav3373

Bachmann, J.C., Cortesi, F., Hall, M., Marshall, N.J., Salzburger, W. & Gante, H.F. 2017. Social selection maintains honesty of a dynamic visual signal in cichlid fish. Evolution Letters. 1: 269–278. doi: 10.1002/evl3.24

Gante, H.F., Matschiner, M., Malmstrøm, M., Jakobsen, K.S., Jentoft, S. & Salzburger, W. 2016. Genomics of speciation and introgression in Princess cichlid fishes from Lake Tanganyika. Molecular Ecology. 25: 6143–6161. doi:10.1111/mec.13767

Gante, H.F., Doadrio, I., Alves, M.J. & Dowling, T.E. 2015. Semi-permeable species boundaries in Iberian barbels (Barbus and Luciobarbus, Cyprinidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15: 111. doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0392-3

Buonerba, L., Zaccara, S., Delmastro, G.B., Lorenzoni, M., Salzburger, W. & Gante, H.F. 2015. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors act at different spatial and temporal scales to shape population structure, distribution and speciation in Italian Barbus (Osteichthyes: Cyprinidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 89: 115–129. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.03.024

Brawand, D., Wagner, C.E., Li, Y.I., Malinsky, M., Keller, I., Fan, S., Simakov, O., Ng, A.Y., Lim, Z.W., Bezault, E., Turner-Maier, J., Johnson, J., Alcazar, R., Noh, H.J., Russell, P., Aken, B., Alföldi, J., Amemiya, C., Azzouzi, N., Baroiller, J.-F., Barloy-Hubler, F., Berlin, A., Bloomquist, R., Carleton, K.L., Conte, M.A., D’Cotta, H., Eshel, O., Gaffney, L., Galibert, F., Gante, H.F., Gnerre, S., Greuter, L., Guyon, R., Haddad, N.S., Haerty, W., Harris, R.M., Hofmann, H.A., Hourlier, T., Hulata, G., Jaffe, D.B., Lara, M., Lee. A.P., MacCallum, I., Mwaiko, S., Nikaido, M., Nishihara, H., Ozouf-Costaz, C., Penman, D.J., Przybylski, D., Rakotomanga, M., Renn, S.C.P., Ribeiro, F.J., Ron, M., Salzburger, W., Sanchez-Pulido, L., Santos, M.E., Searle, S., Sharpe, T., Swofford, R., Tan, F.J., Williams, L., Young, S., Yin, S., Okada, N., Kocher, T.D., Miska, E.A., Lander, E.S., Venkatesh, B., Fernald, R.D., Meyer, A., Ponting, C.P., Streelman, J.T., Lindblad-Toh, K., Seehausen, O. & Di Palma, F. 2014. The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish. Nature. 513: 375–381. doi:10.1038/nature13726

Sousa-Santos, C. §, Gante, H.F.§, Robalo, J., Proença Cunha, P., Martins, A., Arruda, M., Alves, M.J. & Almada, V. 2014. Evolutionary history and population genetics of a cyprinid fish (Iberochondrostoma olisiponensis) endangered by introgression from a more abundant relative. Conservation Genetics. 15: 665-677. doi:10.1007/s10592-014-0568-1

Gante, H.F. & Salzburger, W. 2012. Evolution: cichlid models on the runaway to speciation. Current Biology. 22: R956–R958. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.09.045