Regina L. Cunha



Fax:     +351 289800069

I am interested in integrating phylogeographic and molecular approaches to infer evolutionary processes that explain current patterns of genetic diversity in marine organisms, particularly on isolated oceanic islands. I have worked on natural populations of marine snails from Cape Verde to address problems of speciation and geographic variation and to analyse the influence of historical processes, as the effect of sea-level changes on the genetic structure of organisms. I am also interested in the identification of gamete recognition proteins in primitive gastropods involved in reproductive incompatibilities and their role in the evolution of nongeographic barriers that, ultimately, may generate sympatric divergence. Currently, I am using genomic data (RADseq) to analyse Hawaiian shallow-water coral species diversity, assess the genetic basis of colony polymorphisms and analyse host-symbiont co-evolutionary relationships.

Academic/Current Position

2018 - present - Researcher, University of Algarve, CCMAR-Portugal.

2003 - 2008    Ph.D. “Tempo and mode of evolution of the genus Conus (Gastropoda: Neogastropoda) in the Cape Verde Islands”, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.

1996 - 2001    Graduation in Marine Biology, University of Algarve, Portugal  

1985 - 1989   Bachelor of Science (Engineer Agronomist - Zootechny), University of Coimbra, Portugal


26. Egger C, Neusser TP, Norenburg J, Leasi F, Buge B, Vannozzi A, Cunha RL, Cox CJ Jöger KM Uncovering the shell game with barcodes: diversity of meiofaunal Caecidae snails (Truncatelloidea, Caenogastropoda) from Central America ZooKeys (2020) 968:1-42

doi: 10.3897/zookeys.@@.52986

  1. 25.Cunha RL, Forsman ZH, Belderok R, Knapp ISS, Castilho R and Toonen RJ (2019) Rare coral under the genomic microscope: timing and relationships among Hawaiian Montipora. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19, 153 (IF - 3.027).

  1. 24.Morim T, Bigg GR, Madeira PM, Palma J, Duvernell DD, Gisbert E, Cunha RL, Castilho R (2019) Invasive genetics of the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus): recent anthropogenic introduction in Iberia. PeerJ e6155 (IF - 2.353).

23. Coscia I, Castilho R, Massa-Gallucci A, Sacchi C, Cunha RL, Stefanni S, Helyar SJ, Knutsen H, and Mariani S (2018) Genetic homogeneity in the deep-sea grenadier Macrourus berglax across the North Atlantic Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 132: 60-67. (IF - 2.480).

22. Silva G, Cunha RL,  Ramos AA and Castilho R (2017) Wandering behaviour prevents inter and intra oceanic speciation in a coastal pelagic fish. Scientific Reports 7: 2893. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-02945-0. (IF  – 4.259)

21. Castilho R, Cunha RL, Faria C, Velasco E, Robalo, JI (2017) Asymmetrical dispersal and putative isolation-by-distance of an intertidal blenniid across the Atlantic–Mediterranean divide. PeerJ 5:e3195 (IF - 2.2)

20. Cunha RL, Patrão C and Castilho R. (2017) Different diversity-dependent declines in speciation rate unbalances species richness in terrestrial slugs. Scientific Reports 7, 16198. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-16417-y. (IF  – 4.259).

19. Madeira PM, Chefaoui RM, Cunha RL, Moreira F, Dias S, Calado G and Castilho R. (2017) High-unexpected genetic diversity of a narrow endemic terrestrial mollusc. PeerJ 5:e3069 (IF - 2.2)

18. Cunha RL, Assis JM, Madeira C, Seabra, R, Lima FP, Lopes EP, Williams ST and Castilho R (2017). Drivers of Cape Verde archipelagic endemism in keyhole limpets. Scientific Reports. 7, 41817. doi:10.1038/srep41817. (IF - 5.228)

17. Ranjbar MS, Zolgharnien H, Yavari V, Archangi B, Salari MA, Arnaud-Haond S, Cunha RL (2016). Rising the Persian Gulf black-lip pearl oyster to the species level: fragmented habitat and chaotic genetic patchiness in Pinctada persica. Evolutionary Biology, 43: 131-143 (IF - 2.606). doi: 10.1007/s11692-015-9356-1. IF - 2.606.


  1. 16.Tenorio MJ, Afonso CML, Cunha RL, Rolán E (2014) New species of Africonus (Gastropoda, Conidae) from boa vista in the Cape Verde archipelago: molecular and morphological characterization, Xenophora Taxonomy 2: 5-21

15.Cunha RL, Lima FP, Tenorio MJ, Ramos AA, Castilho R, Williams ST (2014) Evolution at a different pace: distinctive phylogenetic patterns of cone snails from two ancient oceanic archipelagos. Systematic Biology 63(6):971–987 (IF - 14.387; 5-Yr impact factor: 14.787) doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syu059.


14. Cunha RL, Nicastro KN, Costa J, McQuaid, CD, Serrão EA, Zardi GI (2014) Wider sampling reveals a non-sister relationship for geographically contiguous lineages of a marine mussel. Ecology and Evolution 4(11):2017-2081. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1033 (IF - 2.32). 


13. Teixeira S, Olu K, Decker C, Cunha RL, Hourdez S, Serrão EA and Arnaud-Haond S (2013) High connectivity across fragmented chemosynthetic ecosystems of the deep Atlantic Equatorial Belt: efficient dispersal mechanisms or questionable endemism? Molecular Ecology, 22(18):4663-4680. doi: 10.1111/mec.12419. (IF - 5.840)


12. Cunha RL, Coscia I, Madeira C, Mariani S, Stefanni S, Castilho R (2012) Ancient divergence in the trans-oceanic deep-sea shark Centroscymnus crepidater. PLoS ONE 7:e49196. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049196.t003

(IF2011– 4.092)


11. Correia, AT, Ramos AA, Barros F, Silva G, Hamer P, Morais P, Cunha RL, Castilho R (2012) Population structure and connectivity of the European conger eel (Conger conger)  across the Northeastern-Atlantic and Western-Mediterranean: integrating molecular and otolith elemental approaches. Marine Biology, 159: 1509–1525. IF2010–2.011 - 2.393.


10. Decker, C., Olu, K., Cunha, RL, Arnaud-Haond, S. (2012) Phylogeny and diversification patterns among vesicomyid bivalves. PLoS ONE 7(4): e33359. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033359. IF2011=4.411


9. González EG, Cunha  RL, Sevilla  RG, Ghanavi HR, Krey G, and Bautista JM (2011) Evolutionary history of the genus Trisopterus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 62:1013-1018. IF=3.889


8. Reis D, Cunha RL, JR, Patrão C, Rebelo R, Castilho R. (2011) Salamandra salamandra (Amphibia: Caudata) in Portugal: not all black and yellow. Genetica 139:1095-1105. DOI: 10.1007/s10709-011-9609-6. IF=2.358


7. Cunha RL, Verdú JR, Lobo, Zardoya, R. (2011) Ancient origin of endemic earth-boring dung beetles (Geotrupidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 578-586. IF=3.889 PDF

6. Cunha RL, Lopes EP, Reis DM, Castilho R (2011) Genetic structure of Brachidontes puniceus populations in Cape Verde archipelago shows signature of expansion during the last glacial maximum. Journal of Molluscan Studies 77: 175-181. IF=1.253


5. Aires T, Marbà N, Cunha RL, Kendrick GA, Walker DI, Serrão EA, Duarte CM, Arnaud-Haond S (2011) Evolutionary history of the seagrass genus Posidonia. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 421: 117-130. IF=2.48 PDF

4.Cunha RL, Blanc F, Bonhomme F, Arnaud-Haond S (2011) Evolutionary Patterns in Pearl Oysters of the Genus

Pinctada (Bivalvia: Pteriidae). Marine Biotechnology 13: 181-192. IF=2.962


  1. 3.Cunha RL, Grande C, Zardoya R (2009) Neogastropod phylogenetic relationships based on entire mitochondrial genomes. BMC Evolutionary Biology: 9, 210. (2009: IF - 4.294)


2. Cunha RL, Tenório MJ, Afonso C, Castilho R,  Zardoya R (2008). Replaying the tape: recurring biogeographical patterns in Cape Verde Conus after 12 million years. Molecular Ecology, 17 (3): 885-901. (2006 - IF: 4.825; Ranking – Ecology: 6/114; Evolutionary Biology: 5/34).


1. Cunha RL, Castilho, R Rüber, R and Zardoya, R (2005). Patterns of Cladogenesis in the Venomous Marine Gastropod Genus Conus from the Cape Verde Islands. Systematic Biology, 54(4):634–650. (IF – 10.523; Ranking - Evolutionary Biology – 2/33).


CCMAR, Center for Marine Sciences

University of Algarve

Campus de Gambelas,

8005-139 Faro, Portugal