Sebastian Alvarez-Costes is from Puebla, México. His general interests are genetic diversity, speciation, molecular evolution, population genetics, phylogeography, and molecular ecology applied to the conservation of different species of marine mammals and birds.
In his Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology (Honours), done at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS), Mexico, he studied how different demographic, life history, and natural history traits of cetaceans have shaped the genetic diversity of the immune system MHC Class II genes. He followed this with a Master’s (MSc) degree at Ensenada Centre for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE), also in Baja California, Mexico, where he studied the molecular basis and evolution of unihemispheric sleep in Cetaceans and Pinnipeds, comparing genomes of different species of cetaceans and pinnipeds to look for homologous sleep-related genes shared between these species with phylogenetic analysis and ancestral gene reconstruction.
Now for his PhD, with Alana Alexander as supervisor, he will study the phylogeography, population genomics, hologenomics, and molecular evolution of Hector’s and Māui dolphins to give an insight into the evolutionary history of these dolphins, how the populations have changed over the years, the interactions between the microbiome and the host, and the relevancy of using genomic information for the conservation of endangered species.