Eloisa Sari

Email: eloisagene@yahoo.com.br


2006 - present: Ph. D. candidate in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics - University of Missouri - St. Louis.
2003 - 2005: M. Sc. in Genetics - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Advisor: Dr. Fabrício R. Santos
1998 - 2003: Licentiate (Teaching degree) and Bachelor in Biology - Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Supervisors: Mara G. Tavares and Lúcio A. O. Campos

Research Interests:

I am generally interested in the roles of geography and pathogen pressure in the evolution of Neotropical populations and species of birds. My current doctoral research focuses on the colonization history, population dynamics, and pathogen diversity of the Galapagos flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris), with the objective of understanding the relative role of different evolutionary forces on the present distribution of genetic diversity in populations of this species. I am doing this through a comparative study between the Galapagos flycatcher and its closest relative on the continent (Myiarchus tyrannulus from Costa Rica) by estimating the diversity of parasites, neutral molecular markers, and genes that are under selective pressure by parasites (MHC) within and between these two species. Within this framework, I am also interested to determine if the pathogens that are currently found infecting the Galapagos flycatchers came with the flycatcher ancestors to the Galapagos or if these parasites were acquired from the local bird community by the flycatchers after they colonized the islands. This project has been made possible thanks to: CAPES-Brazil, St. Louis Audubon Society, The Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at UMSL, American Ornithologists Union, American Museum of Natural History, Organization of Tropical Studies, and Des Lee Collaborative Funds.

I started working with population genetics during my undergraduate studies in Brazil, and for my undergraduate thesis I studied populations and species of Hymenopteran parasitoids from the genus Melittobia. During my masters at the LBEM (url: http://www.icb.ufmg.br/big/lbem/ ) my research focused on the effects of historical and anthropogenic fragmentation on the genetic diversity of Conopophaga lineata (Passeriformes: Conopophagidae) populations. I worked with populations from Atlantic Forest fragments in Minas Gerais state, southeastern Brazil. The results I obtained suggested that the anthropogenic fragmentation process in this area occurred too recently (150 years ago) to be detected on a molecular level, but instead, historical processes had an important role in shaping the actual distribution of the genetic variability of this species. In collaboration with other graduate students in Brazil, we started investigating these processes for other endemic passerine species and along a more extensive distribution range from the Atlantic Forest. These projects are still ongoing and we have been detecting congruent historical events for different species, but each species demonstrates unique current population dynamics. I also participated in a Barcoding project ( http://www.barcodeoflife.org/ ) under the supervision of Dr. Fabrício Santos, generating barcodes for Thamnophilidae, Pipridae, and Tyrannidae species from Brazil.


  • Sari, E.H.R., Parker, P.G. Understanding the colonization history of the Galápagos flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. accepted.
  • Cabanne, G. S., Horta, F.Sari, E. H. R., Santos, F. R., Miyaki, C. Y. 2008. Nuclear and mitochondrial phylogeography of the Atlantic Forest endemic Xiphorhynchus fuscus (Aves: Dendrocolaptidae): biogeography and systematics implications. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (3) 760–773.
  • Chaves, A.V., Clozato, C.L., Lacerda, D.R., Sari, E.H.R., Santos, F.R. 2008. Molecular Taxonomy of Brazilian Tyrant Flycatchers (Passeriformes: Tyrannidae). Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 1169-1177.
  • Pessoa, R.O., Cabanne G.S., Sari, E.H., Santos, F.R., Miyaki, C.Y. 2006. Comparative phylogeography of the Rufous Gnateater (Conopophagidae) and Lesser Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptidae): Congruent history of two passerines from the South American Atlantic Forest. Journal of Ornithology 147 (Suppl. 1): 227-228.
  • Sari, E.H.R., Lacerda, D.R., Vilaca, S.T., Marini, M.A., Santos, F.R. 2006. Congruent phylogeography of the Rufous Gnateater and Variable Antshrike (Passeriformes) reveals secondary contact between lineages. Journal of Ornithology 147 (Suppl. 1): 106-107
  • Sari, E. H. R., Tavares, M. G., Campos, L. A. O. 2006. RAPD variation within and among species of Melittobia Westwood (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). Neotropical Entomology 35 (2): 201-205.
  • Vilaça, S. T., Lacerda, R. D., Sari, E. H. R., Santos, F. R. 2006. DNA taxonomy applied to Thamnophilidae (Passeriformes) species: the first barcodes of Neotropical birds. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 14 (1): 7-13.