Iria Fernández Silva

Speciation genomics


Iria_DH_small copy

Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Immunology, School of Biology, University of Vigo, Vigo 36310, Spain & California Academy of Sciences – Ichthyology, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

Current projects

Speciation and reticulate evolution in Pygmy angelfishes. The FishSpeciationGenome project seeks to answer key evolutionary questions pertaining the evolution of marine fishes. This researches is funded by a Marie Skldowska-Curie fellowship and is a collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences.









* Coral reef conservation in the South China sea.  We are assessing genetic connectivity and community structure of the protected coral reefs of Dongsha Atoll situated in the heart of a region facing very serious environmental issues. This is a collaboration with Dongsha Atoll National Park and the National Marine Biology Museum and Aquarium (Taiwan).


* Phylogeography of goatfishes in the tropical Indo-Pacific and fine-scale population connectivity in Hawaii, in collaboration with researchers at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

4_old. M. flavolineatus Gulf of Aqaba SVB

Past research projects include the application of DNA analyses to investigate population connectivity of fishes and effect of marine protected areas, the effect of industrialization in population fragmentation in sea cucumbers, and the effectiveness of marine protected areas on preventing the spread of invasive algae through protection of herbivorous fishes. I have also studied the vulnerability of biodiversity hotspots to global warming.


Selected publications (last five years):

Complete list in Google Scholar

  • Fernandez-Silva I, Randall JE, Golani D, Bogorodsky SV. 2016. Mulloidichthys flavolineatus flavicaudus Fernandez-Silva & Randall (Perciformes, Mullidae), a new subspecies of goatfish from the Red Sea and Arabian Sea. ZooKeys 605: 131.
  • Palopoli M, Fergus DJ, Minot S, Pei D, Simison B, Fernandez-Silva I., et al. 2015. Global divergence of the human follicle mite Demodex folliculorum: Persistent associations between host ancestry and mite lineages. PNAS 112 (52): 15958–15963
  • Fernandez-Silva I, Randall JE, Coleman RR, et al. 2015. Yellow tails in a Red Sea: Phylogeography of the Indo-Pacific goatfish Mulloidichthys flavolineatus reveals isolation in peripheral biogeographical provinces and a cryptic evolutionary lineage in the Red Sea that persisted through glacial cycles. Journal of Biogeography 42 (12): 2402-2413
  • Mora C, Frazer AG, Longman RJ, …, Fernandez-Silva I et al. 2013. The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability. Nature, 502(7470): 183-187
  • Fernandez-Silva I, Whitney J, Wainwright B et al. (2013) Microsatellites for next-generation ecologists: A post-sequencing bioinformatics pipeline. Plos ONE 8 (2): e55990


  • 2013 to present –  Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow, California Academy of Sciences (USA)
  • 2014 to present – Research Associate, National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (Taiwan)
  • 2013 Short-term Visiting Scientist – University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa (Japan)
  • 2010 to 2013 Postdoc (Fulbright Scholar) – Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (USA)
  • 2009-2010 Postdoc – University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
  • 2005 to 2008 PhD –  IRTA-University Autonoma of Barcelona (Spain)


Check my Travel Blog featuring experiences during research expeditions in the Tropical Pacific!


In the press 

Faro de VigoEl pez ángel enano atesora el secreto de la biodiversidad marina

Atlántico DiarioOs peixes anxo ananos axudarán a entender a biodiversidade

GCienciaO Campus do Mar estudará a evolución xenética dos peixes anxo ananos

DUVIOs estudo dos peixes ando ananos axudará a entender a biodiversidade mariña e a aprender a protexela

DUVI: Talento investigador procedente de todo o mundo para reforzar o Campus do Mar

GRIST: These sea cucumbers vacuum up the ocean’s trash – and they are in trouble

DUVIUn equipo internacional demostra a elevada sensibilidad das holoturias ou “carallos de mar” á sobrepesca

Science Magazine: What the mites on your face say about where you came from

The Atlantic: We know almost nothing about the animals that live on our faces

Wired: Your face is covered in mites, and they’re full of secrets

Faro de Vigo: Los latinoamericanos tienen en su rostro ácaros de origen europeo, africano y asiático

Hawaii Business Magazine: 20 for the Next 20 2015

New York Times: On a Warmer Planet, Which Cities Will Be Safest?

Hawaii News Now (TV): New Research Claims That in 35 years, Our Coldest Years Will be Warmer Than Our Hottest Years in the Past

New York Times: Countdown to a Hotter Climate – Tropics First

Washington Post: D.C. climate will shift in 2047, researchers say; tropics will feel unprecedented change first

Time: Cold Years in the Future Could Be Hotter Than the Hottest Years Now

Discover Magazine: Today’s Record Highs Will Be Climate Norm By 2047

The Weather Channel (TV): The World’s Oceans Will Be Drastically Different by 2100

Reuters: Record temperatures set to reach tropics first

The Globe and mail: Science team identifies tipping point in climate change: 2047

CBS News: Study: Unprecedented heat will reach U.S. in 30 years

National Geographic News: New Study Predicts Year Your City’s Climate Will Change

LA Times: Tropics will be the first region to be hit hard by global warming

USA Today: U.S. will see unprecedented heat waves by midcentury

CNN: Climate change to drive annual temps to new highs within a generation, study says

Climate depot: Meet Prof. Camilo Mora, the man who uses climate models to warn you of ‘The Coming Plague’

Cato Institute: Just in Time for Halloween Come Some Scary Global Warming Predictions

PBS: The new climate normal: coming soon to a city near you

New York Times: By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say