STELLAR is a new research group led by Philippe J. R. Kok in the Department of Ecology and Vertebrate Zoology of the University of Łódź (central Poland). We are integrative organismal biologists aiming at generating and disseminating new knowledge about the origin and diversity of amphibians and reptiles. Our group has broad interests in e.g., biogeography, dispersal, phylogenetics, population genetics/genomics, ecology, sociality, and physiology, mostly from an evolutionary perspective. We have, for instance, a keen interest in understanding how geographically isolated species/populations cope with extreme and competitive terrestrial environments, and a great deal of our research concerns high tepui (South American tabletop mountains) summit taxa. We also conduct collections-based research, mainly revising the systematics of several Guiana Shield amphibian and reptile taxa.
Our two most recent research projects – funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant from the European Commission (HOSTILE, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London) and a SONATA grant from the National Science Centre of Poland (EXILE) – primarily aim at understanding the impact of South American Old Climatically Buffered Infertile Landscapes (OCBILs) on (1) genetic structure and phenotypic traits; and (2) behavioural, bio-physical and eco-physiological adaptations of amphibians and reptiles. We combine field work, in situ behavioural tests (in native environment and/or in our field laboratory), all sorts of advanced techniques such as highly sensitive thermal imagery and laboratory approaches (e.g., molecular, SEM, µ-CT scans) to answer our questions and test new hypotheses.
I am happy to discuss any PhD/postdoc/collaboration proposition, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to join our ambitious, highly motivated team.