Laura Pineiro

Laura Pineiro

Tel.: +41 44 634 83 29



PhD student in Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Systematic  Botany, University of Zürich, Switzerland Topic: The ecological genomics of parallel adaptation and speciation


MSc in Ecology and Evolution, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Norway Topic: Beak shape variation in a hybrid species: effects of diet, insularity and species interactions

2010-2011   International Erasmus Programme, University of Oslo, Norway
2007-2013   Bachelors degree in Biology, University of A Coruña, Spain


Research interest

My main interest lies in the field of evolutionary ecology and more precisely, speciation. I am interested in how a combination of ecological patterns and variation in genomic architecture can explain the capability of a population to adapt, and likewise how selection acts upon such populations. 

Ophrys is a genus of sexually deceptive orchids which produces chemicals mimicking their pollinators’ sex pheromones. This process is responsible for reproductive isolation through highly specific pollinator attraction. Within the genus, parallel species radiation events have occurred. More precisely, distantly related groups have evolved adaptations to the same pollinators.

In my PhD project, I will focus on understanding the extent of similarities in adaptive, pollinator-attractive traits, as well as reproductive barriers in two distantly related species groups. In the first group, I study a pair of closely related taxa, O. sphegodes and O.incubacea, which occur in sympatry and are pollinated by Andrena nigroaenea, and A. morio, respectively. My study species in the second group are the O. iricolor and O. mesaritica species pair, which are likely sister species and are pollinated by the same bees. I will also investigate the degree of convergence in the genomic architecture underlying pollinator-relevant traits. Finally, I will try to identify the factors that might facilitate, or constrain, the evolution of the metabolic pathways controlling pollinator attraction. 

With such a comparison, I aim to shed light, both at the genomic and phenotypic level, on the generality of evolutionary patterns and processes.