Pamela Maritza Morales Henríquez

Actual occupation: Postdoctoral researcher
Institution: Universidad de Chile
Research on: Genomic differentiation of pupfish in the Altiplano

Educational Background:

2012 – 2018. PhD. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Universidad de Chile. Dissertation title: “Divergencia a nivel genómico entre especies recientes y antiguas del género Orestias (Teleostei; Cyprinodontidae)”. Advisor: Marco Méndez.

2009 – MSc, Universidad de Chile. Dissertation title: “Diferenciación genética y conectividad en ambientes fragmentados: el caso de Orestias (Teleostei; Cyprinodontidae) de los salares de Ascotán y Carcote en el Altiplano chileno”. Advisor: Elie Poulin.

2001 – 2006. BSc, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Dissertation title: “Diversidad genética de Orestias ascotanensis (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) en el Altiplano chileno” Advisors: F. Patricio Ojeda and Elie Poulin.

Research Interest: We have been working with the genus Orestias (Teleostei; Cyprinodontidae), a genus that comprise 46 species, all endemic to freshwater systems of the Altiplano, the inter-Andean basin of Chile, Bolivia and Peru. We have attempted to understand how the diversification and speciation processes have occur in this genus. The PhD thesis I am developing is focused on four Chilean species, two of them are highly divergent (O. ascotanensis and O. gloriae), while the other two (O. laucaensis and O. chungarensis) have differentiated very recently (12 – 8 kya), representing a suitable model to study speciation. To pursue this goal, I will explore the genomic differentiation between these species using RAD-Seq data and the whole genome of O. ascotanensis.


Guerrero-Jiménez CJ, Peña F, Morales P, Méndez M, Sallaberry M, Vila I & Poulin E. 2017. Pattern of genetic differentiation of an incipient speciation process: The case of the high Andean killifish Orestias. PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170380

Cruz-Jofré F, Morales P, Vila I, Esquer-Garrigos Y, Hugueny B, Gaubert P, Poulin E & Méndez MA. 2016. Geographical isolation and genetic differentiation: the case of Orestias ascotanensis (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae), an Andean killifish inhabiting a highland salt pan. Biological Journal of Linnean Society. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12704

Cruz-Jofré F, Morales P, Esquer-Garrigos Y, Vila I, Hugueny B, Gaubert P & Méndez MA. 2014. Taxonomic identity of the forms of Orestias agassii (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) from Chile: A morphological comparison with the syntypes of the species of Peru and Bolivia. Gayana. DOI: 10.4067/S0717-65382014000100006

Vila I, Morales P, Scott S, Poulin E, Véliz D, Harrod C & Méndez MA. 2013. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analysis of the genus Orestias (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) in the southern Chilean Altiplano: the relevance of ancient and recent divergence processes in speciation. Journal of Fish Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12031

Gallardo CE, Correa C, Morales P, Sáez PA, Pastenes L & Méndez MA. 2012. Validation of a cheap and simple nondestructive method for obtaining AFLPs and DNA sequences (mitochondrial and nuclear) in amphibians. Molecular Ecology Resource. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12013

Morales P, Vila I & Poulin E. 2011. Genetic structure in remnant populations of an endangered cyprinodontid fish, Orestias ascotanensis, endemic to the Ascotán salt pan of the Altiplano. Conservation GeneticsDOI: 10.1007/s10592-011-0245-6

Contact e-mail:


Awards and Associations:

CONICYT funding for visit the Ole Seehausen’s lab (EAWAG, Switzerland) for six months (October 2015 – March 2016).

Complementary Funding of the CONICYT PhD scholarship, for operational expenses of the PhD thesis.

CONICYT scholarship for assist the course ConGen 2015 (31th August to 5th September 2015, Flathead Lake Biological Station, Montana, USA).

ESEB Conference Travel Award 2013.

PhD CONICYT scholarship, grant number 2012-21120972 (2012-2016)

MSc scholarship, IEB (2006-2008)

Award of the Graduate Student Exchange Program to visit the Julie Turgeon´s lab (Université Laval, Canada) for six months (March to September 2008).

Membership in SOCEVOL 

Further information: Other interest, hobby, languages, etc.


Spanish. Maternal language

English. Fluent.

French. Fluent.

German. Basic.