Helena Teixeira

University of Reunion Island


Seabirds are well-known by their extraordinary dispersal ability however, they also exhibit high levels of philopatry, as many species are known to return repeatedly to the same place for breeding (an enigma so-called “seabird paradox”).

This makes the seabirds an excellent study model to investigate the processes underlying species diversification and speciation in the western Indian Ocean (WIO). My current research project (CONNECTs) aims at inferring genetic connectivity patterns and reconstruct the species demographic history of five seabird species with different geographic distributions: sooty tern and red-footed booby (pan-tropical distribution), wedge-tailed shearwater and great frigatebird (Indo-Pacific distribution), and tropical shearwater (restricted to the Indian Ocean). The results of this project will not only improve our knowledge about seabird connectivity at different spatial scales, but also will allow the identification of appropriate conservation units that must be the focus of future conservation plans in situ.

In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught

Baba Dioum


2022 Present
Postdoctoral researcher, ENTROPIE, University of Reunion Island, France
2020 2021
Postdoctoral researcher, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany
2017 2020
PhD, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany
2015 2016
MSc in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution, CIBIO, University of Porto, Portugal
2012 2015
Research fellow, CEF, University of Coimbra & Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal

Birds Without Borders or Isolated Islands? Connectivity of Western Indian Ocean Seabirds

Other Interests

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the mechanisms that shaped current biodiversity patterns in tropical regions. My research focuses on the application of molecular and genomic tools to reconstruct species evolutionary histories (i.e., demographic modelling, population connectivity and genetic diversity). Prior to my postdoc at the University of Reunion island (2017 – 2021), I investigated how the past environmental changes shaped the demographic dynamics of mouse lemur species (Microcebus spp.) adapted to different biomes (evergreen humid forest vs. lowland habitats) in Madagascar Island. I am now interested in the genetic processes underlying population connectivity and diversification of seabirds species distributed across the western Indian Ocean.