Prof Luciano Beheregaray

I am a molecular ecologist fascinated about natural history. I do basic and applied research in evolution, ecology and conservation management, with a focus on aquatic biodiversity – particularly on fishes. My work illustrates how natural history and genomics can be integrated to better understand the way organisms interact with their environment, as well as to stimulate public and government interest about the importance of managing and conserving biodiversity. This research is typically based on molecular approaches such as riverscape and seascape genomics, phylogeography, conservation and restoration genetics, phylogenetics and ecological genomics. A large component of the work carried out in my research group aims to understand the origins and evolutionary trajectories of populations, as well as their capacity to adapt to rapid environmental and climatic change.

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Short bio

I have a BSc and a MSc in Biological Oceanography from University of Rio Grande in Brazil and a PhD from Macquarie University in Sydney (awarded in 2001). I was a ‘Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Research Fellow’ at Yale University between 2001 and 2003, before returning to Australia in mid 2003 to take up a faculty position and to head the Molecular Ecology Lab at Macquarie University. In 2009 I moved to Adelaide to establish the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University, where I am a Professor of Biodiversity Genomics. I held an ‘ARC (Australian Research Council) Future Fellowship’ between 2014 and 2018, a research-only position aimed at establishing a research program on ecological genomics of fishes. In September 2020 I started a new role as the Research Section Lead of ‘Ecology, Evolution and Environment’, a group of >180 academics, postdocs and research students at Flinders University.

For a more formal description of my work (including teaching activities) visit my Flinders staff page at:       

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For updated citation statistics check out my page on Google Scholar Citations.


Fieldwork efforts in my lab concentrate on biotas from remote ecosystems such as Amazonia, Patagonia, Pampas, Wallacea, Gulf of California, Galapagos, Antarctica, southern Africa and the Cerrado and from several marine and freshwater ecosystems of Australia. I am particularly fond of bony fishes (yep, I am fish guy!), but I have also worked and published on dolphins, whales, sharks, giant tortoises, wombats, lizards, butterflies, sea turtles and on a variety of marine invertebrates including tunicates, sea-urchins, molluscs and crustaceans.

Interested in joining the lab?

Our contacts page contains information for potential postgraduate students and postdocs, volunteers and research visitors.

Select Publications (for a complete list click here)

– Beheregaray LB, Ciofi C, Geist D, Gibbs J, Caccone G, Powell JR (2003) Genes record a prehistoric volcano eruption in the Galápagos. Science 302, 75.

– Beheregaray LB (2008) Twenty years of Phylogeography: the state of the field and the challenges for the Southern Hemisphere. Molecular Ecology 17, 3754-3774.

– Beheregaray LB, Havill N, Gibbs J, Fritts T, Powell JR, Caccone G (2004) Giant tortoises are not so slow: rapid diversification and biogeographic consensus in the Galápagos. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 101, 6514-6519.

– Beheregaray LB, Caccone A (2007) Cryptic biodiversity in a changing world. BMC Biology 6, 1-5.

– Beheregaray LB, Ciofi C, Caccone G, Gibbs J, Powell JR (2003) Genetic divergence, phylogeography and conservation units of giant tortoises from Santa Cruz and Pinzón, Galápagos Islands. Conservation Genetics 4, 31-46.

– Beheregaray LB, Sunnucks P, Briscoe DA (2002) A rapid fish radiation associated with the last sea level changes in southern Brazil: the silverside Odontesthes perugiae complex. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 269, 65-73.

– Beheregaray LB, Sunnucks P (2001) Fine-scale genetic structure, estuarine colonization and incipient speciation in the marine silverside fish Odontesthes argentinensis. Molecular Ecology 10, 2849-2866.

– Sloane MA, Sunnucks P, Alpers DL, Beheregaray LB, Taylor AC (2000) Highly reliable genetic identification of individual northern hairy-nosed wombats from single remotely-collected hairs: a feasible censusing approach. Molecular Ecology 9, 1233-1240.

– Sunnucks P, Wilson ACC, Beheregaray LB, Zenger K, French J, Taylor AC (2000) SSCP is not so difficult: the application and utility of single-stranded conformation polymorphism in evolutionary biology and molecular ecology. Molecular Ecology 9, 1699-1710.

– Möller LM, Beheregaray LB, Harcourt R, Kruetzen M (2001) Kinship and alliance formation in wild male bottlenose dolphins. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 268, 1756-1762.

– Möller LM, Beheregaray LB (2004) Genetic evidence of sex-biased dispersal in resident bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). Molecular Ecology 13, 1607-1612.

– Ciofi C, Wilson GA, Beheregaray LB, C Marquez, J Gibbs, W Tapia, H Snell, Caccone G, Gibbs J, Powell JR (2006) Phylogeographic history and gene flow among giant Galápagos tortoises on southern Isabela island. Genetics 172, 1727-1744.

– Möller LM, Beheregaray LB, Allen SJ, Harcourt RG (2006) Association patterns and kinship in female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) of southeastern Australia. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61, 109-177.

– Banks S, Piggott M, Williamson J, Bove U, Holbrook N, Beheregaray LB (2007) Oceanic variability and coastal topography shape local genetic structure in a long-dispersing marine invertebrate. Ecology 88, 3055-3064.

– Russello MA, Beheregaray LB, Gibbs J, Fritts T, Havill N, Powell JR, Caccone A (2007) Lonesome George is not alone among Galápagos tortoises. Current Biology 17, R317-R318.

– Poulakakis N, Glaberman S, Michael R, Beheregaray LB, Ciofi C, Powell JR, Caccone A (2008) Historical DNA analysis reveals living descendants of an extinct species of Galapagos Tortoise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105, 15464.

– Piggott M, Banks S, Tung P, Beheregaray LB (2008) Genetic evidence for different scales of connectivity in a marine mollusc. Marine Ecology Progress Series 365, 127-136.

– Bilgmann K, Möller LM, Gales R, Harcourt R, Beheregaray LB (2008) Common dolphins subject to fisheries impacts in Southern Australia are genetically differentiated: implications for conservation. Animal Conservation 11, 518-528.

– Garrick RC, Dyer, RJ, Beheregaray LB, Sunnucks P (2008) Babies and bathwater: A comment on the premature obituary for nested clade phylogeographic analysis. Molecular Ecology 17, 1401-1403.

– Möller LM, Bilgmann K, Charlton-Robb K, Beheregaray LB (2008) Multi-gene evidence for a new species of bottlenose dolphin in southern Australia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49, 674-681.

– Corrigan S, Beheregaray LB (2009) A recent shark radiation: molecular phylogeny, biogeography and speciation of wobbegong sharks (Orectolobidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52, 205-216.

– Teske PR, Beheregaray LB (2009) Evolution of seahorses’ upright posture was linked to Oligocene seagrass expansion. Biology Letters 5, 521-523.

– Müller CJ, Beheregaray LB (2010) Paleo-Island affinities revisited: Biogeography and systematics of the genus Cethosia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57, 314-326.

– Banks SC, Ling SD, Johnson CR, Piggott MP, Williamson JE, Beheregaray LB (2010) Genetic structure of a recent climate-change driven range expansion. Molecular Ecology 19, 2011–2024.

– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2010) Islands of water in a sea of dry land: hydrological regime predicts genetic diversity and dispersal in a widespread fish from Australia’s arid zone, the golden perch (Macquaria ambigua). Molecular Ecology 19, 4723-4737.

– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2011) The role of anthropogenic vs. natural in-stream structures in determining connectivity and genetic diversity in an endangered freshwater fish, Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica). Evolutionary Applications 19, 4723–4737.

– Piggott M, Chao NL, Beheregaray LB (2011) Three fishes in one: cryptic species in an Amazonian floodplain forest specialist. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 102, 391–403.

– Teske PR, Rius M, McQuaid CD, Styan CA, Piggott MP, Benhissoune S, Fuentes-Grünewald C, Walls K, Page M, Attard CRM, Cooke GM, McClusky CF, Banks SC, Barker NP, Beheregaray LB (2011) “Nested” cryptic diversity in a widespread marine ecosystem engineer: a challenge for detecting biological invasions. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:176.

– Teske PR, Papadopoulos I, Mmonwa K, Matumba T, McQuaid C, Barker NP, Beheregaray LB (2011) Climate-driven genetic divergence of limpets with different life histories across a southeast African marine biogeographic disjunction: different processes, same outcome. Molecular Ecology 20, 5025-5041.

– Wiszniewski J, Corrigan S, Beheregaray LB, Möller LM (2012) Male reproductive success increases with alliance size in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). Journal of Animal Ecology 93, 239-250.

– Amaral AR, Beheregaray LB, Bilgmann K, Boutov D, Freitas L, Robertson KM, Sequeira M, Stockin KA, Coelho MM, Möller LM (2012) Seascape genetics of a globally distributed, highly mobile marine mammal: the short-beaked common dolphin (genus Delphinus). PLoS ONE 7(2): e31482.

– Cooke G, Chao NL, Beheregaray LB (2012) Biogeographic history of the croaker genus Plagioscion (Sciaenidae): marine incursions, cryptic species and ecological diversification in Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography 39, 724–738.

– Cooke GM, Chao NL, Beheregaray LB (2012) Divergent natural selection with gene flow along major environmental gradients in Amazonia: Insights from genome scans, population genetics and phylogeography of the characin fish Triportheus albus. Molecular Ecology 21, 2410-2427.

– Cooke GM, Chao NL, Beheregaray LB (2012) Natural selection in the water: freshwater invasion and adaptation by water colour in the Amazonian pufferfish. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25, 1305-1320.

– Amaral AR, Beheregaray LB, Bilgmann K, Freitas L, Robertson KM, Sequeira M, Stockin KA, Coelho MM, Möller LM (2012) Influences of past climatic changes on historical population structure and demography of a cosmopolitan marine predator, the common dolphin (genus Delphinus). Molecular Ecology 21, 4854-4871.

– Attard C, Beheregaray LB, Jenner JK, Gill P, Jenner M, Morrice M, Robertson K, Möller L (2012) Hybridization of Southern Hemisphere blue whale subspecies and a sympatric area off Antarctica: impacts of whaling or climate change? Molecular Ecology 21, 5715-5727. 

– Smith S, Bernatchez L, Beheregaray LB (2013) RNA-seq analysis reveals extensive transcriptional plasticity to temperature stress in a freshwater fish species. BMC Genomics 2013, 14:375. (Highly Accessed)

– Rodríguez-Zárate CJ, Rocha-Olivares A, Beheregaray LB (2013) Genetic signature of a recent metapopulation bottleneck in the olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) after intensive commercial exploitation in Mexico. Biological Conservation 168, 10-18.

– Cooke GM, Landguth EL, Beheregaray LB (2014) Riverscape genetics identifies replicated ecological divergence across an Amazonian ecotone. Evolution 68, 1947-1960.

– Beheregaray LB, Cooke GM, Chao NL, Landguth EL (2015) Ecological speciation in the tropics: insights from comparative genetic studies in Amazonia. Frontiers in Genetics 5, 477.

– Teske PR, Sandoval-Castillo J, van Sebille E, Waters JM, Beheregaray LB (2015) On-shelf larval retention limits population connectivity in a coastal broadcast spawner. Marine Ecology Progress Series 532, 1-12.

– Attard CRM, Beheregaray LB, Jenner JK, Gill P, Jenner M, Morrice M, Teske PR, Möller LM (2015) Low genetic diversity in pygmy blue whales is due to climate-induced diversification rather than anthropogenic impacts. Biology Letters 11: 20141037.

– Teske PR, Sandoval-Castillo J, van Sebille E, Waters JM, Beheregaray LB (2016) Oceanography promotes self-recruitment in a planktonic larval disperser. Scientific Reports 6:34205.

– Brauer CJ, Hammer MP, Beheregaray LB (2016) Riverscape genomics of a threatened fish across a hydroclimatically heterogeneous river basin. Molecular Ecology 25, 5093–5113.

-Attard CRM, Möller LM, Sasaki M, Hammer MP, Bice C, Brauer C, Carvalho D, Harris J, Beheregaray LB (2016) A novel holistic framework for genetic-based captive breeding and reintroduction programs. Conservation Biology 30, 1060-1069.

–  McCairns RJS, Smith S, Sasaki M, Bernatchez L, Beheregaray LB (2016) The adaptive potential of subtropical rainbowfish in the face of climate change: heritability and heritable plasticity for the expression of candidate genes. Evolutionary Applications 9: 531–545.

– Sandoval-Castillo J, Attard CRM, Marri A , J. Brauer C, Möller LM, Beheregaray LB (2017)  SWINGER: a user-friendly computer program to establish captive breeding groups that minimize relatedness without pedigree information. Molecular Ecology Resources 17: 278–287.

– Beheregaray LB, Pffeifer L, Attard CRM, Sandoval-Castillo J, Domingos FMCB, Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Unmack PJ (2017) Genome-wide data delimits multiple climate-determined species ranges in a widespread Australian fish, the golden perch (Macquaria ambigua). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 111, 65-75.

– Attard CRM, Brauer C, Sandoval-Castillo J, Faulks LK, Unmack PJ, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2018) Ecological disturbance influences adaptive divergence despite high gene flow in golden perch (Macquaria ambigua): implications for management and resilience to climate change. Molecular Ecology 27, 196–215.

– Rodríguez-Zárate CJ, Sandoval-Castillo J, van Sebille E, Keane RG, Rocha-Olivares A, Urteaga J, Beheregaray LB (2018) Isolation by environment in the highly mobile olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in the eastern Pacific. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 285: 20180264.

– Attard CRM, Beheregaray LB , Möller LM (2018) Genotyping-by-sequencing for estimating relatedness in non-model organisms: avoiding the trap of precise bias. Molecular Ecology Resources 18, 381-390.

– Gaughran S, Quinzin M, Miller J, Garrick R, Edwards D, Russello M, Poulakakis N, Ciofi C, Beheregaray LB, Caccone A (2018) Theory, practice, and conservation in the age of genomics: the Galápagos giant tortoise as a case study. Evolutionary Applications 11, 1084-1093.

– Brauer CJ, Unmack PJ, Smith S, Bernatchez L, Beheregaray LB (2018) On the roles of landscape heterogeneity and environmental variation in determining population genomic structure in a dendritic system. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/mec.1480

– Sandoval-Castillo J, Robinson N, Hart A, Strain L, Beheregaray LB (2018) Seascape genomics reveals adaptive divergence in a connected and commercially important mollusc, the greenlip abalone (Haliotis laevigata), along a longitudinal environmental gradient. Molecular Ecology 27, 1603-1620.

– Rodríguez-Zárate CJ, Sandoval-Castillo J, van Sebille E, Keane RG, Rocha-Olivares A, Urteaga J, Beheregaray LB (2018) Isolation by environment in the highly mobile olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in the eastern Pacific. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 285: 20180264.

– Batley K, Sandoval-Castillo J, Kemper C, Attard C, Zanardo N, Tomo I, Beheregaray LB, Möller LM (2019) Genome-wide association study of an unusual dolphin mortality event reveals candidate genes for susceptibility and resistance to cetacean morbillivirus. Evolutionary Applications doi: 10.1111/eva.12747.

– Quesada V, Freitas-Rodríguez S, Miller J, Pérez-Silva J, Jiang Z, Tapia W, Santiago-Fernández O, Campos-Iglesias D, Kuderna L, Quinzin M, Álvarez M, Carrero D, Beheregaray LB, Gibbs J, Chiari Y, Glaberman S, Ciofi C, Araujo-Voces M, Mayoral P, Arango J, Tamargo-Gómez I, Roiz-Valle D, Pascual-Torner M, Evans B, Edwards D, Garrick R, Russello M, Poulakakis N, Gaughran S, Rueda D, Bretones G, Marques-Bonet T, White K, Caccone A, Lopez-Otin C (2019) Giant tortoise genomes provide insights into longevity and age-related disease. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3, 87–95. 

– Teske, PR, Sandoval-Castillo J, Golla TR, Emami-Khoyi A, Tine M, von der Heyden S, Beheregaray LB (2019) Thermal selection as a driver of marine ecological speciation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 286: 20182023.

– Quinzin MC, Sandoval-Castillo J, Miller JM, Beheregaray LB, Russello MA, Hunter EA, Gibbs JP, Tapia W, Villalva F, Caccone A (2019) Genetically informed captive breeding of hybrids of an extinct species of Galapagos giant tortoise. Conservation Biology 33, 1404-141

– Grummer JA, Beheregaray LB, Bernatchez L, Hand B, Luikart G, Narum SR, Taylor EB (2019) Aquatic landscape genomics and environmental effects on genetic variation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 34, 641-654.

– Sandoval-Castillo J, Gates K, Brauer CJ, Smith S, Bernatchez L, Beheregaray LB (2020) Adaptation of plasticity to projected maximum temperatures and across climatically defined bioregions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, 17112-17121.