Prof. Richard Brown

Dr. Richard Brown
Job Title Professor of Animal Evolution




BSc (Hons) Zoology, PhD, DSc

Email Address r.p.brown  (DOMAIN NAME: ljmu DOT ac DOT uk)
Contact Address Room 342,
James Parsons Building,
Byrom St.
L3 3AF

Academic Profile

  • 1998-Present School of Natural Sciences & Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University
  • 1993-1998 School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, Liverpool JMU
  • 1992-1993 Post-doctoral fellowship, Canary Islands Government
  • 1990-1992 Post-doctoral fellowship, Royal Society
  • Teaching:

    Modules include: Genetics & Evolution (4002NATSCI), Physiological Ecology (6003NATSCI), Ecology Field Skills (5006NATSCI)


    Why do different populations of the same species differ morphologically and/or genetically? My research primarily centres on reconstructing species historical biogeographies using genetic markers, as well as examining the current factors that maintain these geographical patterns. I am particularly interested in the evolution of island animals. In the Canary Islands, volcanic events seem to have led to considerable differentiation among reptile populations over quite small geographical distances.


    In a recent paper (Cox et al., 2010) we used mtDNA and geological data to infer when the Canary Islands were colonized by Gallotia lizards, and how they subsequently dispersed across these volcanic islands. The whole process started some 20 million years ago, just after the appearance of the most eastern islands. Newly emerged islands don't seem to have remained vacant for long. Each inferred island colonization date was generally quite soon after the island appeared.

    Gallotia stehlini from Gran Canaria:


    Suárez, N. M., Pestano, J., & Brown, R. P. 2014. Ecological divergence combined with ancient allopatry in lizard populations from a small volcanic island. Molecular Ecology

    Jin, Y., Yang, Z., Brown, R. P., Liao, P., & Liu, N. 2014. Intraspecific lineages of the lizard Phrynocephalus putjatia from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Impact of physical events on divergence and discordance between morphology and molecular markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71, 288-297.
    Rodríguez, V., R. P Brown, B.Terrasa, V. PérezMellado, J. A. Castro, M. M. Ramon. 2014. Genetic diversity and historical biogeography of the Maltese wall lizard, Podarcis filfolensis (Squamata: Lacertidae). Conservation Genetics 15(2), 295-304.
    Jin, Y-T., R. P. Brown. 2013. Species history and divergence times of viviparous and oviparous Chinese toad headed sand lizards (Phrynocephalus). Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 68: 259–268.

    Rodríguez, V., R. P Brown, B.Terrasa, V. PérezMellado, J. A. Castro, M. M. Ramon. 2013. Multilocus genetic diversity and historical biogeography of the endemic wall lizard from Ibiza and Formentera, Podarcis pityusensis (Squamata: Lacertidae). Molecular Ecology 22, 4829–4841.

    Duminil, J., R. P. Brown, B. K. Eben-Ezer Ewédjè, P. Mardulyn, J.L. Doucet O. J. Hardy. 2013. Large-scale pattern of genetic differentiation within African rainforest trees: insights on the roles of ecological gradients and past climate changes on the evolution of Erythrophleum spp (Fabaceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:195.(13 pages).

    Buades J.M., V. Rodríguez, B. Terrasa, V. Pérez-Mellado, R.P. Brown, J.A. Castro, A. Picornell, M. M. Ramon. 2013. Variability of the mc1r gene in melanic and non-melanic Podarcis lilfordi and Podarcis pityusensis from the Balearic Archipelago. PLoS ONE: vol. 8(1).

    Brown, R.P., T. Tejangkura, E.H. El Mouden, M. A. Ait Baamrane, M. Znari. 2012. Species delimitation and digit number in a North African skink. Ecology & Evolution  2(12): 2962-2973. PDF

    Brown, R. P., Z. Yang. 2011. Rate variation and estimation of divergence times using strict and relaxed clocks. BMC Evolutionary Biology 59(2): 119-131. PDF

    Bloor, P., V. Rodríguez, B. Terrasa, R. P. Brown, V. Pérez-Mellado, J. A. Castro, A. Picornell and M. M. Ramon. 2011. Polymorphic microsatellite loci for the Balearic Island Lizard Podarcis lilfordi (Squamata: Lacertidae). Conservation Genetics Resources 3: 323-325. DOI: 10.1007/s12686-010-9354-7.

    Brown, R. P., Z. Yang. 2010. Bayesian dating of shallow phylogenies with a relaxed clock. Systematic Biology 59(2): 119-131. PDF

    Cox, S. C., S. Carranza, R. P. Brown. 2010.  Divergence times and colonization of the Canary Islands by Gallotia lizards. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 56: 747-757. PDF

    Tejangkura, T., R. P. Brown. 2010. Ten novel microsatellite loci from the Gran Canarian gecko, Tarentola boettgeri, and their applicability in other Tarentola. Molecular Ecology Resources. Manuscript: PDF. Reference PDF. MER database entries: 44153-44162.

    Terrasa, B., V. Rodríguez, V.Pérez-Mellado, A. Picornell, R. P. Brown, J. A. Castro, M. M. Ramon. 2009. Use of NCPA to understanding genetic sub-structuring of Podarcis lilfordi from the Balearic archipelago. Amphibia-Reptilia

    Terrasa, B, V. Pérez-Mellado,  R. P. Brown, J.A. Castro, A. Picornell, M.M. Ramon. 2009. Foundations for conservation of intraspecific genetic diversity revealed by analysis of phylogeographical structure in the endangered endemic lizard Podarcis lilfordi. Diversity & Distributions Vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 207-221. Mar 2009. PDF

    Brown, R. P. and T. Au. 2009. The influence of metabolic heat production on body temperature in a small lizard, Anolis carolinensis. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 153: 181-184. PDF.

    Brown, R. P., B. Terrasa, V. Pérez-Mellado, J.A. Castro, P.A. Hoskisson, A. Picornell, M.M. Ramon. 2008. Bayesian estimation of post-Messinian divergence times in Balearic Island lizards. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 350–358. PDF

    Bloor, P., S. J. Kemp, and R. P. Brown. 2008. Recent volcanism and mitochondrial DNA structuring in the lizard Gallotia atlantica from the island of Lanzarote. Molecular Ecology 17(3): 854–866. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03575.x) PDF

    Jin Y-T., R. P. Brown, N-F Liu. 2008. Cladogenesis and phylogeography of the lizard Phrynocephalus vlangalii(Agamidae) on the Tibetan plateau. Molecular Ecology 17: 1971-1982. (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.03721.x). PDF

    Suárez, N. M., P. Bloor, R. P. Brown and J. Pestano. 2008. Highly polymorphic microsatellite loci for the Gran Canarian skink (Chalcides sexlineatus) and their applicability in other Canarian Chalcides. Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 666–668. PDF

    Salvador A., J. A. Díaz , J. P.Veiga, P. Bloor,  and R. P. Brown. 2008. Correlates of reproductive success in male lizards of the alpine species Iberolacerta cyreni.Behavioral Ecology 19: 169-176. (doi:10.1093/beheco/arm118). PDF

    Brown, R. P. & N. Roberts. 2008. Feeding state and selected body temperatures in the slowworm (Anguis fragilis). Herpetological Journal 18: 59-62. PDF

    Perera, A., Vasconcelos, R., Harris, D. J., Brown, R. P., Carretero, M. A., Pérez-Mellado, V. 2007. Complex patterns of morphological and mtDNA variation in Lacerta perspicillata (Reptilia; Lacertidae). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 90: 479-490. PDF

    Brown, R. P., P. A. Hoskisson, J. H. Welton, and M. Báez. 2006. Geological history and within-island diversity: a debris avalanche and the Tenerife lizard Gallotia galloti. Molecular Ecology15 (12):  3631-3640 PDF.

    Brown, R. P., Griffin, S. 2005. Lower selected body temperatures after food deprivation in the lizard Anolis carolinensis. Journal of Thermal Biology 30: 79-83. PDF.

    Brown, R. P. 2005. Large subunit mitochondrial rRNA secondary structures and site-specific rate variation in two lizard lineages. Journal of Molecular Evolution 60: 45-56. PDF

    Bloor, P. and R. P. Brown. 2005. Morphological variation in Gallotia atlantica from the volcanic island of Lanzarote: subspecies designations and recent lava flows. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 85 (3), 395-406. PDF

    Molina O., R. P. Brown, et al. 2003. The origin of the Osorian shrew (Crocidura osorio) from Gran Canaria resolved using mtDNA. Ital. J. Zoology 70 (2): 179-181. PDF

    Pestano, J., R. P. Brown, N. M. Suarez, S. Fajardo. 2003. Phylogeography of pipistrelle-like bats in the Canary Islands based on mtDNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 26: 56-63. PDF

    Pestano, J., R. P. Brown, N. M. Suarez and S. Fajardo. 2003. Intraspecific evolution of Canary Island Plecotine bats, based on mtDNA sequences. Heredity 90: 302-307. PDF

    Pestano, J., R. P. Brown, N. M. Suarez and M. Báez. 2003. Diversification of sympatric Sapromyza (Diptera: Lauxaniidae) from Madeira: six morphological species but only four mtDNA lineages. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. PDF

    Brown, R. P., J. Pestano, and N. M. Suarez. 2002. The Atlas mountains as a biogeographical divide in North-West Africa: evidence from mtDNA evolution in the Agamid lizard Agama impalearis. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 24: 324-332. PDF

    Brown, R. P., J. Pestano, N. M. Suarez and A. Smith. 2001. Phylogeography of Cape Verde Island skinks (Mabuya). Molecular Ecology 10: 1593-1597. PDF

    Brown, R. P., R. Campos-Delgado and J. Pestano 2000. Mitochondrial DNA evolution and population history of the Tenerife skink Chalcides viridanus. Molecular Ecology 9(8): 1061-1069. PDF

    Pestano, J., R. P. Brown., F. Rodríguez, and A. C. Moreno 2000. MtDNA control region diversity in the blue chaffinch, Fringilla teydea. Molecular Ecology 9(9): 1421-1427.

    Brown, R. P. , M. Znari, E. H. El Mouden and P. Harris. 1999. Estimating asymptotic size and geographic variation in Agama impalearis from Morocco. Ecography 22: 277-284 PDF.

    Pestano, J. and R. P. Brown.1999. Geographical structuring of mtDNA in Chalcides sexlineatus within the island of Gran Canaria. Proceedings of the Royal Society (Lond.) B: Biological Sciences 266: 815-823.PDF

    El Mouden, E. H., M. Znari and R. P.Brown. 1999. Skeletochronology and mark-recapture assessments of growth in the North African agamid lizard, Agama impalearis. J. Zoology (Lond.) 249: 455-461. PDF

    Brown, R. P. and J. Pestano.1998. Phylogeography of Canary Island skinks inferred from mtDNA sequences. Molecular Ecology 7: 1183-1191. PDF

    Brown, R. P. and M. Znari. 1998. Geographic variation in Agama impalearis from Morocco: evidence for historical population vicariance and current climatic effects. Ecography 21: 605-612. PDF

    Báez, M. & R. P. Brown. 1997. Testing multivariate patterns of within-island differentiation in Podarcis dugesii from Madeira. J. Evol. Biol. 10: 575-587. PDF

    Brown, R. P. 1997. Testing for heterogeneity among phenotypic correlations: a comparison of methods using Monte Carlo simulations. Genetica 101: 67-74. PDF

    A couple of older papers (please email requests for other pre-1997 papers not listed here):

    Brown, R. P., R. S. Thorpe and M. Baez. 1991. Parallel within-island microevolution in lizards from neighbouring islands. Nature 352: 60-62. PDF

    Brown, R. P., & R. S. Thorpe. 1991. Within-island geographic variation in the colour pattern of the skink Chalcides sexlineatus: Pattern and cause. J. Evol. Biol. 4: 557-574. PDF

    Brown, R. P. Thermal biology of the gecko Tarentola boettgeri......Herpetologica 1996 52(3): 396-405. PDF




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