My name is Beatriz Portinha. I am a PhD student at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. I am currently studying populations of hybrid mound building wood ants. I started studying ants during my MSc thesis, where I reconstructed the speciation and hybridization history between the wood ants Formica polyctena and Formica aquilonia. My PhD will focus on populations of F. polyctena x F. aquilonia hybrids. These hybrid ants have been shown to have fascinating and promising adaptive potential in the face of a warming climate, as their populations are able to respond to quick changes in their surrounding environmental temperature on a time scale as small as a year. I will continue to perform computational work by simulating the evolution of hybrid genomes in hybrid populations, with a special focus on temperature-dependent selection. Further, I will dive headfirst into field and experimental work, as I aim to understand the impact of temperature on the reproductive output of hybrid and parental queens and on the early development of hybrid offspring.
When I am not at my computer or in our cosy ant room, I enjoy watching TV series, reading, and playing games, either on console or tabletop. If you have any questions or suggestions in general or related to the blog, please drop me a line: beatriz.portinha[at]helsinki.fi or follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/bcportinha