Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Conservation Genetics

Violeta Munoz-Fuentes


Dr. Violeta Muñoz-Fuentes

Data Analysis and Project Administration



Violeta Muñoz-Fuentes

Google Scholar profile  


Research interests

My research interests and experience are in molecular ecology, with a focus on biogeography, hybridization and speciation. I am also interested in contributing research results to the development of management strategies for the conservation of species. I use mostly, but not exclusively, genetic and genomic approaches to tackle these questions. I have worked with a variety of taxa, mainly birds and mammals, but also amphibians, in topics such as genetic diversity, population genetics, phylogeography, hybridization, biogeography, and evolutionary genomics.


Brief biography

After my Masters at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) (University of Kent, UK) under the supervision of Richard Griffiths, I pursued PhD studies at the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) supervised by Andy J. Green and Juan José Negro. During this time, I also worked in close collaboration with Michael Sorenson at Boston University. During my postdoc, I joined Carles Vilà's group at Uppsala University, then at EBD-CSIC. I have also worked with Catharina Linde Forsberg, Jennifer Leonard, Kevin McCracken, Jane Morrell, Anna di Rienzo, Chris Darimont, Paul Paquet, Attila Toth, Ignasi Roig and Robert Wayne, thus reflecting a wide range of topics, interests and techniques, always revolving around conservation and population genetics and evolutionary biological questions. Some of these collaborations are still ongoing. Currently, at the Senckenberg Research Institute, I have joined Carsten Nowak's group, where we work on the population and conservation genetics of a number of European mammal species, such as wolves, bears and wild cats, among others. 




Peer-reviewed articles

de Groot GA, Nowak C, Skrbinšek T, Andersen L, Aspi J, Fumagalli L, Godinho R, Harms, V, Jansman HAH, Liberg O, Marucco F, Mysłajek RW, Nowak S, Pilot M, Randi E, Reinhardt I, Śmietana W, Szewczyk M, Taberlet P, Vilà C, Muñoz-Fuentes V (2016) Decades of population genetic research reveal the need for harmonization of molecular markers: the grey wolf, Canis lupus, as a case study. Mammal Review 46, 44-59. Link

Natarajan C, Projecto-Garcia J, Moriyama H, Weber RE, Muñoz-Fuentes V, Green AJ, Kopuchian C, Tubaro PL, Alza L, Bulgarella M, Smith MM, Wilson RE, Fago A, McCracken KG, Storz JF (2015) Convergent evolution of hemoglobin function in high-altitude Andean waterfowl involves limited parallelism at the molecular sequence level. PLoS Genetics 11, e1005681. Link

Harms V, Nowak C, Carl S, Muñoz-Fuentes V (2015) Experimental evaluation of genetic predator identification from saliva traces on wildlife kills. Journal of Mammology 96, 138-143. Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Marcet-Ortega M, Alkorta-Aranburu G, Linde-Forsberg C, Morrell JM, Manzano E, Söderberg A, Daniel K, Villalba A, Tóth A, Di Rienzo A, Roig I, VilÀ C (2015) Strong artificial selection in domestic mammals did not result in an increased recombination rate. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32, 510-523. Link

Munoz-Fuentez et al. 2015

Leonard JA, den Tex RJ, Roberts MT, Muñoz-Fuentes V, Thorington R, Maldonado JE (2015) Biogeography of the Sunda Shelf: a multi species comparison. Journal of Biogeography 96, 138-143. Link

Leonard et al. 2015

Brennan AC, Woodward G, Seehausen O, Muñoz-Fuentes V, Moritz C, Guelmami A, Abbott RJ, Edelaar P (2014) Hybridization due to changing species distributions: adding problems or solutions to conservation of biodiversity during global change? Evolutionary Ecology Research 16, 475-49. Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Linde-Forsberg C, Vilà C, Morrell JM (2014) Single layer centrifugation separates spermatozoa from diploid cells in epididymal samples from grey wolves, Canis lupus (L.) Theriogenology 82, 773-776. Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Cortazar-Chinarro M, Lozano M, McCracken KG (2013) Stepwise colonization of the Andes by Rddy Ducks and the evolution of novel β-globin variants. Molecular Ecology 22, 1231-1249. doi: 10.1111/mec.12151 Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Green AJ, Negro JJ (2013) Genetic studies facilitated management decisions on the invasion of the ruddy duck in Europe. Biological Invasions 15, 723-728. doi: 10.1007/s10530-012-0331-9 Link

Cruz F, Brennan AC1, Gonzalez-Voyer A1, Muñoz-Fuentes V1, Eaaswarkhanth M1, Roques S1, Picó X (2012) Genetics and Genomics in Wildlife Studies: Implications for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology. BioEssays 34, 245-246 Link
  (1Equal Contribution).

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Di Rienzo A, Vilà C (2011) Prdm9, a major determinant of meiotic recombination hotspots, is not functional in dogs and their wild relatives, wolves and coyotes. PLoS ONE 6, e25498. Faculty1000
Recommended by Faculty of 1000 (F1000) Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Darimont CT, Paquet P, Leonard JA (2010) The genetic legacy of extirpation and re-colonization in Vancouver Island wolves. Conservation Genetics, Special Issue 11, 547-556. Link

Reichart LM, Anderholm S, Muñoz-Fuentes V, Webster MS (2010). Molecular identification of brood parasitic females reveals opportunistic egg laying in ruddy ducks. Molecular Ecology 19, 401-413. Link

Bryan HM, Sim KA, Darimont CT, Paquet PC, Wagner B, Muñoz-Fuentes V, Smits JE, Chilton NB* (2010) Identification of Parelaphostrongylus odocoilei (Nematoda: Protostrongylidae) first-stage larvae in the feces of gray wolves (Canis lupus) by molecular methods. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 46, 297-302. Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Darimont CT, Wayne RK, Paquet P, Leonard JA (2009) Ecological factors drive differentiation in wolves from British Columbia. Journal of Biogeography 36, 1516-1531, Link 
 Journal Biogeography WolvesArticle selected for the cover. Journal of Biogeography Editor's Choice highlighted articles

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Green AJ, Sorenson MD (2008) Comparing the genetics of wild and captive populations of white-headed ducks: consequences for recovery programmes. Ibis 150, 807-815. Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Vilà C, Green AJ, Negro JJ, Sorenson MD (2007) Hybridization between white-headed ducks and introduced ruddy ducks in Spain. Molecular Ecology 16, 629-638.

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Green AJ, Sorenson MD, Negro JJ, Vilà C (2006) The ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis in Europe: natural colonization or human introduction? Molecular Ecology 15, 1441-1453.  Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Green AJ, Negro JJ, Sorenson MD (2005) Population structure and loss of genetic diversity in the endangered white-headed duck, Oxyura leucocephala. Conservation Genetics 6, 999-1015. Link

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Gyllenstrand N, Negro JJ, Green AJ, Vilà C (2005) Microsatellite markers for two stifftail ducks: the white-headed duck, Oxyura leucocephala, and the ruddy duck, O. jamaicensis. Molecular Ecology Notes 5, 263-265.  Link

Other publications in scientific journals

Muñoz V, Green AJ, Negro JJ, Sorenson MD (2003) Studies of the population genetics of white-headed ducks and North American ruddy ducks – preliminary results using mitochondrial DNA. Threatened Waterfowl Specialist Group News 14, 54-57.

Muñoz V (2001) Genetic introgression of ruddy ducks in wild populations of white-headed ducks. Threatened Waterfowl Specialist Group News 13, 28-30.

Scientific reports

Muñoz V, Green AJ (2004) Caracterización y control genético de la población de malvasía cabeciblanca en la Generalitat Valenciana. Generalitat Valenciana. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

Muñoz V, Green AJ, Negro JJ (2002) Estudio de la introgresión genética de la malvasía canela, Oxyura jamaicensis, en la población española de malvasía cabeciblanca, O. leucocephala. Junta de Andalucía. Unpublished report. 58 pp.

Popular Science

Muñoz-Fuentes V, Negro JJ, Green AJ (2008) Malvasía canela, un invasor al que temer y contener (The ruddy duck, an invader to fear and to contain, in Spanish). Quercus, July 2008.

Press Coverage

2010 Coverage of research. Uppsala Nya Tidning, 14 January 2010 - “Vargar kom utan testiklar och svans” (“Wolves without testes or tails”, in Swedish). Sweden.

2009 Coverage of paper: The genetic legacy of extirpation and re-colonization in Vancouver Island wolves. Times Colonist (Victoria), 29 September 2009 - “British Columbia's wolf cull on the Island led to 'monster' hybrid study”. Canada.

2009 Coverage of paper: The genetic legacy of extirpation and re-colonization in Vancouver Island wolves. The Vancouver Sun, September 29, 2009 - “Cross-bred animals found on Vancouver Island 'aren't fit as pets or wild creatures,' study finds.” Canada.

2009 Coverage of paper: Ecological factors drive differentiation in British Columbia grey wolves. Times Colonist, 11 March 2009 - “Unique coastal wolves merit protection, study concludes”. Canada.

2008 Coverage of paper: Malvasía canela, un invasor al que temer y contener. La Garcilla (SEO/BirdLife’s Magazine), Summer 2008. “Aves de España. Últimas noticias sobre Avifauna”. Spain.

2007 Coverage of paper: The ruddy duck in Europe and Hybridization between white-headed ducks and introduced ruddy ducks in Spain. Birding (American Birding Association’s Magazine), March/April 2007 - “Ruddy Duck Hybrids”. United States of America.

2006 Coverage of paper: The ruddy duck in Europe. World Birdwatch (BirdLife’s Magazine), June 2006 – “Ruddy ducks”. United Kingdom.


The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

Sociedad Española de Biología Evolutiva (SESBE)

Urdiales C, Pereira P (1993) Identification key of O. jamaicensis, O. leucocephala and their hybrids. Instituto Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (ICONA), Spain