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Dr. Ariel Rodríguez

Dr. rer. nat. Ariel Rodríguez

Research interest

My research centers in the study of the processes generating biological diversity and specifically on the diversification of populations which ultimately lead to speciation. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms that generate the impressive genetic and phenotypic diversity of life forms. I approach these subjects with an evolutionary perspective at different levels, from molecular genetics and bioinformatics to traditional systematics and ecology. So far, most of my research has been focused on amphibian and reptiles which are excellent models for studies on evolutionary biology.

Dr. rer. nat. Ariel Rodríguez

Research Projects

  • Adaptationsgenetik von farbenfrohen Pfeilgiftfröschen. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (2016 – 2018, DFG: 263544360).
  • Phylogenetische Rekonstruktion der thermalen Nischen von Palaearktischen Eidechsen der Familie Lacertidae (2015 – 2018, DFG: 269736211) – Tec. University of Braunschweig, Germany (TU-BS).
  • Advertisement call variation in amphibians and its relevance in speciation (2012 – 2014). Georg-Forster Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
  • Natural and life history correlates of genetic diversity in tropical amphibians (2009 – 2013, DFG: 190323899).
  • Cryptic species of Cuban Eleutherodactylus frogs (2007 – 2010). Royal Belgian Museum of Natural History (Global Taxonomic Initiative) – TU-BS, Germany. Doctoral dissertation project.
  • Creation, preservation and management of natural history collections (1998-2012). IES, Cuba. Collaborator.
  • Emerging diseases in amphibians: The great threat to biodiversity (2004-2006). Natural History Museum, Madrid – IES, Cuba.
  • Study for the Conservation of the Flora and Fauna of Sierra de la Güira. (2002-2005). IES – National Environmental Agency, Cuba.
  • Herpetology of Central Cuba (2001-2003). IES – Smithsonian Institution – National Geographic Society.
  • Acoustic structure of amphibian communities of tropical and temperate regions in Cuba and Chile (2000-2002). Instuto de Ecología y Sistemática (IES), Cuba – University of Chile, Chile.

Awards & grants

10.2015 – 10.2016    
Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund: Chytrid fungus threat on Cuban amphibians: island-wide screening and the quest for protective skin bacteria.

08.2012 – 11.2014

GeorgForster-Forschungstipendium fur Postdoktoranden, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung.


04.2011 – 04.2012

Deutsche Gesselschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V.: Entschlsselung der Diversitt der Froschzwerge: Phylogeographie des kubanischen Eleutherodactylus limbatus-Komplexes.


10.2007 – 10.2008

Global Taxonomic Initiative (GTI) Individual and Institutional Capacity Building in Taxonomy and Collection Management.


02.2005 – 02.2006

BBVA Foundation Awards for Biodiversity Conservation.


I. Articles in peer reviewed journals


Dugo-Cota, A., Vilá, C., Rodríguez, A., Gonzalez-Voyer, A. (2019): Ecomorphological convergence in Eleutherodactylus frogs: a case of replicate radiations in the Caribbean. Ecology Letters. 22: 884–893.


Kueneman, J.G., Bletz, M.C., Becker, G., Joseph, M., Abarca, J.G., Archer, H., Areleno, L., Bataille, A., Becker, M., Belden, L.K., Crottini, A., Geffers, R., Haddad, C.F.B., Harris, R.N., Holden, W., Hughey, M., Ibańez, R., Jarek, M., Kerby, J.L., Kielgast, J., Kurabayashi, A., Longo, A.V., Loudon, A., Medina, D., Nuńez, J.J., Perl, R.G.B., Pinto-Tomás, A., Rabemananjara, F.C.E., Rebollar, E.A., Rodríguez, A., Rollins-Smith, L., Stevenson, R., Tebbe, C.C., Asensio, G.V., Walke, J.B., Whitfield, S.M., Zamudio, K.R., Chaves, I.Z., McKenzie, V., Woodhams, D.C., Vences, M. (2019): Community richness of amphibian skin bacteria correlates with bioclimate at the global scale. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3: 381–389.


Pröhl, H., Scherm, M.G., Meneses, S., Dreher, C.E., Meuche, I., Rodríguez, A. (2019): Female-female aggression is linked to food defence in a poison frog. Ethology 125: 222-231.


 Sillero, N., Campos, J., Bonardi, A., Corti, C., Creemers, R., Crochet, P.-A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Denoël, M., Ficetola, G.F., Gonçalves, J., Kuzmin, S., Lymberakis, P., Pous, P.d., Rodríguez, A., Sindaco, R., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. (2018): NA2RE is reliable but aims for improvement: an answer to Vamberger and Fritz (2018). Biologia 73: 1131–1135.


Dittrich, C., Rodríguez, A., Segev, O., Drakulić, S., Feldhaar, H., Vences, M., Rödel, M.-O. (2018): Temporal migration pattern and mating tactics influence size-assortative mating in Rana temporaria. Behavioral Ecology 29: 418–428.


 Rodríguez, A., Burgon, J., Lyra, M., Irisarri, I., Baurain, D., Blaustein, L., Göcmen, B., Künzel, S., Nolte, A., Veith, M., Steinfartz, S., Elmer, K., Philippe, H., Vences, M. (2017): Inferring the shallow phylogeny of true salamanders (Salamandra) by multiple phylogenomic approaches. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 115: 16-26.


Rodríguez, A., Rusciano, T., Hamilton, R., Holmes, L., Jordan, D., Wollenberg Valero, K.C. (2017): Genomic and phenotypic signatures of climate adaptation in an Anolis lizard. Ecology and Evolution 7: 6390–6403.


Rodríguez, A., Dugo-Cota, Á., Montero-Mendieta, S., Gonzalez-Voyer, A., Alonso, R., Vences, M., Vilŕ, C. (2017): Cryptic within cryptic: genetics, morphometrics, and bioacoustics delimitate a new species of Eleutherodactylus (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae). Zootaxa 4221: 501–522.


Alonso Bosch, R., Rodríguez, A., Hernández Quinta, M. (2017): Advertisement call variation and individual acoustic distinctiveness in the explosive breeding toad Peltophryne cataulaciceps (Anura: Bufonidae). Acta Ethologica 20: 197–205.


Dreher, C.E., Rodríguez, A., Cummings, M.E., Pröhl, H. (2017): Mating status correlates with dorsal brightness in some but not all poison frog populations. Ecology and Evolution. 7: 10503–10512.


Goedbloed, D.J., Czypionka, T., Altmüller, J., Rodríguez, A., Küpfer, E., Segev, O., Blaustein, L., Templeton, A.R., Nolte, A.W., Steinfartz, S. (2017): Parallel habitat acclimatization is realized by the expression of different genes in two closely related salamander species (genus Salamandra). Heredity 119: 429–437.


Köhler, J., Jansen, M., Rodríguez, A., Kok, P., Toledo, L.F., Emmrich, M., Glaw, F., Haddad, C.F.B., Rödel, M.-O., Vences, M. (2017): The use of bioacoustics in anuran taxonomy: theory, terminology, methods and recommendations for best practice. Zootaxa 4251: 1-124.


Miralles, A., MacLeod, A., Rodríguez, A., Ibáńez, A., Jiménez-Uzcategui, G., Quezada, G., Vences, M., Steinfartz, S. (2017): Shedding light on the Imps of Darkness: an integrative taxonomic revision of the Galápagos marine iguanas (genus Amblyrhynchus). Zoological Journal of The Linnean Socciety. zlx007: e1-33.


Wollenberg Valero, K.C., Garcia-Porta, J., Rodríguez, A., Arias, M., Shah, A., Randrianiaina, R.D., Brown, J.L., Glaw, F., Amat, F., Künzel, S., Metzler, D., Isokpehi, R.D., Vences, M. (2017): Transcriptomic and macroevolutionary evidence for phenotypic uncoupling between frog life history phases. Nature Communications. 15213: e1-9.


Sabino-Pinto, J., Bletz, M.C., Iturriaga, M., Vences, M., Rodríguez, A. (2017): Low infection prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Chytridiomycetes: Rhizophydiales) in Cuba. Amphibia-Reptilia 38: 243-249.


Hagen, L.t., Rodríguez, A., Menke, N., Göcking, C., Bisping, M., Frommolt, K.-H., Ziegler, T., Bonkowski, M., Vences, M. (2016): Vocalizations in juvenile anurans: common spadefoot toads (Pelobates fuscus) regularly emit calls before sexual maturity. The Science of Nature 103: e75.


Rodríguez, A., Börner, M., Pabijan, M., Gehara, M., Haddad, C.F.B. (2015): Genetic divergence in tropical anurans: deeper phylogeographic structure in forest specialists and in topographically complex regions. Evolutionary Ecology 29: 765-785.


MacLeod, A., Rodríguez, A., Vences, M., Orozco-terWengel, P., García, C., Trillmich, F., Gentille, G., Caccone, A., Quezada, G., Steinfartz, S. (2015): Hybridization masks speciation in the evolutionary history of the Galápagos Marine Iguana. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: e20150425.


Heinermann, J., Rodríguez, A., Segev, O., Edmonds, D., Dolch, R., Vences, M. (2015): Year-round activity patterns in a hyperdiverse community of rainforest amphibians in Madagascar. Journal of Natural History 49: 2213-2231.

Segev, O., Rodríguez, A., Hauswaldt, S., Hugemann, K., Vences, M. (2015): Flatworms (Schmidtea nova) prey upon embryos of the common frog (Rana temporaria) and induce minor developmental acceleration. Amphibia-Reptilia 36: 155-163.


Simoes, B., Sampaio, F., Jared, C., Antoniazzi, M., Loew, E., Bowmaker, J., Rodríguez, A., Hart, N., Hunt, D., Partridge, J., Gower, D.J. (2015): Visual system evolution and the nature of the ancestral snake. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 28: 1309–1320.


Vences, M., Sanchez, E., Hauswaldt, J.S., Eikelmann, D., Rodríguez, A., Carranza, S., Donaire, D., Gehara, M., Helfer, V., Lötters, S., Werner, P., Schulz, S., Steinfartz, S. (2014): Nuclear and mitochondrial multilocus phylogeny and survey of alkaloid content in true salamanders of the genus Salamandra (Salamandridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 73: 208–216.


Sillero, N., Campos, J., Bonardi, A., Corti, C., Creemers, R., Crochet, P.-A., Isailovic, J.C., Denoël, M., Ficetola, G.F., Gonçalves, J., Kuzmin, S., Lymberakis, P., Pous, P.d., Rodríguez, A., Sindaco, R., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. (2014): Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe. Amphibia-Reptilia 35: 1-31.


Gehara, M., Crawford, A.J., Orrico, V.G.D., Rodríguez, A., Lötters, S., Fouquet, A., Baldo, D., Barrientos, L.S., Brusquetti, F., Castroviejo-Fisher, S., Riva, I.D.l., Ernst, R., Faivovich, J., Gagliardi-Urrutia, G., Glaw, F., Guayasamin, J., Hölting, M., Jansen, M., Kok, P., Kwet, A., Lingnau, R., Lyra, M., Moravec, J., Padial, J.M., Jr., J.P., Rojas-Runjaic, F.J.M., Schulze, A., Seńaris, J.C., Solé, M., Trefaut-Rodriguez, M., Twomey, E., Haddad, C.F.B., Vences, M., Köhler, J. (2014): Continentally widespread frog species exist despite high levels of cryptic diversity: evidence from a phylogeographic analysis of the Neotropical tree frog Dendropsophus minutus. Plos ONE 9: e103958.


Rodríguez, A., Poth, D., Schulz, S., Gehara, M., Vences, M. (2013): Genetic diversity, phylogeny and evolution of alkaloid sequestering in Cuban miniaturized frogs of the Eleutherodactylus limbatus group. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68: 541–554.


Rodríguez, A. & Alonso, R. (2012) New localities for Eleutherodactylus glamyrus (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae) in Eastern Cuba. Herpetology Notes 5, 293-295.


Rodríguez, A., Alonso, R., Rodríguez, J.A. & Vences, M. (2012) Geographic distribution, color variation and molecular diversity of miniature frogs of the Eleutherodactylus limbatus group from Cuba Salamandra, 48, 71-91.


Rodríguez, A. M. Vences & García L. Y. 2011. Expansion of the known distribution and molecular systematics of Eleutherodactylus adelus (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae). Salamandra 47(4).


Rodríguez, A., D. Poth, S. Schulz, & M. Vences. 2011. Discovery of skin alkaloids in a miniaturized eleutherodactylid frog from Cuba. Biology Letters 7: 414-418.


M. Vences, A. Schulz, D. Poth, & A. Rodríguez. 2011. Defining frontiers in mite and frog alkaloid research. Biology Letters 7: 557.


Rodríguez, A., M. Vences, B. Nevado, A. Machordom, & E. Verheyen. 2010. Biogeographic origin and radiation of Cuban Eleutherodactylus of the auriculatus species group, inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54: 179–186


Rodríguez, A., D. de la Nuez, & R. Alonso. 2010. Intraspecific variation in the advertisement call of the cloud forest frog Eleutherodactylus glamyrus (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae). Journal of Herpetology 44: 457–466.


Hernández M, Alonso R & A. Rodríguez. 2010. Advertisement call of Peltophryne florentinoi (Anura: Bufonidae), an endemic toad from Zapata Swamp, Cuba. Amphibia-Reptilia 31: 265-272.


Rodríguez A., R. Alonso & L. V. Moreno. 2007. Types of amphibians in the Zoological Collection of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics, Havana, Cuba. Poeyana 495: 20-22.


Alonso, R. & A. Rodríguez. 2005. Intra-populational variation in the advertisement call of the Cuban giant toad Bufo fustiger (Anura: Bufonidae). Revista Biología. 19(1-2): 87-91.


Alonso, R. y A. Rodríguez. 2004. Anolis lucius (Coronel, Gorrita). Vocalizations. Herpetological Review 36(4).

Alonso, R. & A. Rodríguez. 2003. Advertisement calls of Cuban toads of the genus Bufo (Anura: Bufonidae). Phyllomedusa 2(2): 75-82.


J. E. Fa; J. P. Soy; R. Capote; M. Martínez; I. Fernández; A. Ávila; D. Rodríguez; A. Rodríguez; F. Cejas & G. Brull. 2002. Biodiversity of Sierra del Cristal, Cuba: first insights. Oryx. 36 (4): 389-395.


Alonso, R. & A. Rodríguez. 2001. Llamadas del repertorio vocal de Eleutherodactylus eileenae (Anura: Leptodactylidae) del Occidente de Cuba. Cuadernos de Herpetología. 14 (2): 123-130.


Alonso, R., A. Rodríguez & A. R. Estrada. 2001. Patrones de actividad acústica y trófica de machos cantores de Eleutherodactylus eileenae (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Revista Espańola de Herpetología. 15: 45-52.


A. R. Estrada, L. M. Díaz & A. Rodríguez. 1997. Nueva especie de Eleutherodactylus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) del litoral norte de La Habana, Cuba. Revista Espańola de Herpetología 11: 19-24.




González Alonso, H., Rodríguez-Schettino, L., Rodríguez, A., Mancina, C.A. & Ramos-García, I. 2012. Libro Rojo de los Vertebrados de Cuba (Red Book of the Cuban Vertebrates). Editorial Academia, La Habana. 304pp.

Alonso, R., A. Rodríguez & R. Márquez. 2007. Sound Guide of Amphibians from Cuba. Alosa, Barcelona (CD & booklet): 28pp.


II. Articles in popular science journals


Rodríguez, A. (2011). Results of the Cuban amphibians Red List assessment. Froglog 96: 19-20.


Rodríguez, A. (2011): Anfibios [Amphibians] Pp 236-256. In Larramendi, J., Vińa-Dávila, N. (eds.) Rostros en peligro. Ediciones Polymita, Ciudad de Guatemala.


Rodríguez A. (2009). Book review: Guía taxonómica de los anfibios de Cuba. Phyllomedusa 8(1): 63-65.


Rodríguez A. & R. Alonso (2009). Natural History: Eleutherodactylus leberi (NCN), clutch size and parental care. Herpetological Review 40(2): 204.


Rodríguez, A. & Alonso, R. (2003). Ranas arborícolas [Arboreal frogs]. Pp 10-19. En L. Rodríguez-Schettino (ed.) Anfibios y Reptiles de Cuba. UPC Print, Vaasa, Finland.


Rodríguez, A. & Alonso, R. (2003). Ranas diminutas [Diminutive frogs]. Pp 50-55. En L. Rodríguez-Schettino (ed.) Anfibios y Reptiles de Cuba. UPC Print, Vaasa, Finland.


Rodríguez-Schettino. & A. Rodríguez. (2003). Especies en peligro y su conservación [Threatened species and conservation]. Pp 156-161. In L. Rodríguez-Schettino (ed.) Anfibios y Reptiles de Cuba. UPC Print, Vaasa, Finland.


Rodríguez, A. & R. Alonso (2000). Threatened amphibians from Cuba. Froglog 37: 7

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