Gabriel Ferreira, Dr.
Since 09/2020 – Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, 2D/3D imaging/digitization joint-lab SHEP-Uni. Tübingen
02/2015 – 05/2019 Ph.D. in Comparative Biology at the University of São Paulo and Geosciences at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen; Ph.D. thesis: “Patterns of morphological evolution in the skull of turtles: contributions from digital palaeontology, neuroanatomy, and biomechanics”
08/2012 – 01/2015 - M.Sc. in Comparative Biology at the University of São Paulo, campus Ribeirão Preto, Brazil; Master thesis: “Evolution and phylogeny of Pleurodira (Testudines) with the description of a new species of Bairdemys (Podocnemidae) from the middle Miocene of Venezuela”
2008-2011 - B.Sc. in Biology at the University of São Paulo, campus Ribeirão Preto, Brazil; Bachelor monograph: “Osteological study and redescription of Bauruemys elegans (Suárez, 1969) from the Upper Cretaceous of Bauru Basin, based on new specimens”
I am a comparative biologist and vertebrate palaeontologist interested in the use of digital tools to understand macroevolution of reptiles. I am currently the Scientific Coordinator of the µCT imaging joint-lab of the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany.
My research focuses on the use of computational methods and tools, especially micro-Computed Tomography (µCT), to explore macroevolutionary patterns, and the relations between morphology and function in animals, chiefly reptiles. Most of my track record was built on turtles, a group with a long evolutionary history (>210 million years), a considerable extant diversity, and a highly modified body plan, characteristics that make them a very interesting model for macroevolutionary studies. I divide my activities in three main lines of investigation:
Systematics & taxonomy — the bases to explore evolutionary patterns are trees of relationships. For that reason, part of my work is to describe new species and to construct phylogenetic hypotheses, using different time-calibrating methods, that can be employed in other analyses of reptiles.
Macroevolution & phylogenetic comparative analyses — in order to understand evolution in the deep time I apply analytical techniques, such as geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic comparative analyses, and ancestral area reconstructions, to explore morphological disparity, species diversity, and biogeographical patterns in organisms.
Virtual morphology & Palaeontology — using µCT, contrast-enhanced staining, and other digitalization techniques, I can virtually reconstruct the hard and soft-tissues in extant and extinct species. With the 3d virtual models a number of new questions and possibilities emerge to explore the relations between form and function, using for example Finite Element Analyses (FEA).
Five selected publications
Montefeltro, F.C., S. Lautenschlager, P.L. Godoy, G.S. Ferreira, R.J. Butler. 2021. A unique predator in a unique ecosystem: modelling the apex predator within a Late Cretaceous crocodyliform-dominated fauna from Brazil. Journal of Anatomy, doi:10.1111/joa.13192.
Ferreira, G.S., S. Lautenschlager, S.W. Evers, C. Pfaff, J. Kriwet, I. Raselli, I. Werneburg. 2020. Feeding biomechanics suggests progressive correlation of skull architecture and neck evolution in turtles. Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62179-5.
Ferreira, G.S., I. Werneburg. 2019. Evolution, diversity, and development of the craniocervical system in turtles with special reference to jaw musculature. In: Ziermann J, Diaz Jr RR, Diogo R (eds) Heads, jaws and muscles: evolution, development, anatomical diversity and function. Springer.
Ferreira, G.S., M. Bronzati, M.C. Langer, J. Sterli. 2018. Phylogeny, biogeography and diversification patterns of side-necked turtles (Testudines: Pleurodira). RSOS, 5(3). 171773
Ferreira, G.S., A.D. Rincón, A. Solórzano, M.C. Langer. 2015. The last marine pelomedusoids (Testudines: Pleurodira): a new species of Bairdemys and the paleoecology of Stereogenyina. PeerJ 3: e1063