Prof. Gary Carvalho undertakes research on the molecular genetic analysis of population and species biodiversity of aquatic animals, with studies aimed at understanding the evolutionary and ecological forces that shape genetic structure in the wild, and how such structure may influence adaptation, population persistence and distribution. Recent work has focused on the use of ancient DNA to explore responses in relation to long-term environmental change, DNA barcoding of marine fishes, speciation in offshore Lake Malawi cichlids and the quantitative genetics of adaptive variation. Recent first-time research achievements include: (i) a PCR-based comparative analysis of resting egg bank and contemporary populations of zooplankton contesting classical models on the extent and maintenance of genetic diversity in cyclic parthenogens; (ii) the provision of estimates of population structuring and the first comprehensive phylogeny of Lake Malawi cichlid fishes showing evidence for sympatric speciation; (iii) empirical demonstration that loss of genetic variability is associated with over-fishing in a marine fish.

He has supervised 16 Masters; 36 PhD (24 as lead supervisor); 17 postdoctoral, including 3 Marie-Curie, 1 NATO, 1 United Nations, 3 NERC Fellows, 2 Visiting Professorial Fellowships (TD Kocher, USA; P Bloomer, S Africa), and 9 Erasmus Scholars.

He has published over 250 scientific papers in ISI-listed journals, which have been cited over 11500 times.

CCMAR ● Campus de Gambelas ● Faro ● Portugal ● email:

It is well recognised that fisheries resources are a major contributor to human well-being across the globe, providing a range of social and economic benefits. Moreover, exploited species typically comprise important components of aquatic ecosystems across trophic levels, and thus underpin aspects of ecosystem diversity and function. Such contributions are, however, increasingly under threat. Despite the long-held aim of sustainable yields, numerous wild fisheries either are over-exploited or are in precipitous decline. While the global view is not universally pessimistic, we need to recognise fisheries as natural resources that are not necessarily renewable. Moreover, the time-scale for management should be extended to incorporate effectively the implications of biological integrity (species and population-level), genetic change and evolutionary response. Such ideas are, however, not new. Since the turn of the 20th century, emphasis was placed on the local self-sustaining population or stock, and not the typological species, as the unit of study for fisheries management. Correspondingly, there has been significant investment in identifying and monitoring the dynamics of such population-level integrity. Nevertheless, it is the usual lack of recognition that stock integrity is influenced by genetic processes that renders it vulnerable to environmental change and that jeopardises sustainability. Here, I consider the underlying rationale for sustainable exploitation within an evolutionary context: why it is necessary, and how it can facilitate recovery and conservation of natural fisheries resources. A brief historical narrative and critique of genetic and genomic approaches will be presented, with an emphasis on the role that fisheries geneticists and managers can play in developing programmes towards sustainable exploitation. There remains a need to focus efforts that integrate a quantitative (numerical change in fish abundance) with a qualitative (changes in genetic composition) approach. New techniques such as the application of genome-wide sequencing technologies will be considered, with applications ranging from traceability to conservation of adaptive diversity. Challenges such as climate change, fisheries-induced evolution, overexploitation, stock recovery and resilience, and the devastating impact of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) will be highlighted.


Genomics and the fishing industry: translating advances into action