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Development of Molecular Markers for Novel Organisms
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Nikos Poulakakis complete CV
Univeristy of Crete, Department of Biology


  • 2007-present: Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Yale University.
  • 2005-2006: Postdoctoral Associate in the Molecular Systematics Lab, Natural History Museum of the University of Crete.
  • 2005: Biology Ph.D, Department of Biology, University of Crete. Dissertation Title: “Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the wall-lizards Podarcis (Sauria: Lacertidae) in Greek area” (exact date of award: 27/01/2005).
  • 2000: Paleontology M.Sc., Department of Geology, University of Athens. Dissertation Title: “Molecular Phylogeny of the Extinct Pleistocene Dwarf Elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus falconeri from Tilos Island (Dodekanisa, Greece).”
  • 1997: Biology B.Sc., Department of Biology, University of Crete.

Research Interests
My research interests are in the broad area of molecular systematics, phylogeny, and phylogeography, using modern and ancient DNA. Sequence data are rapidly becoming the characters of choice for reconstructing phylogenies, as well as for distinguishing the evolutionary forces acting at the DNA level. I am involved in studying micro-evolutionary mechanisms that generate diversity, identifying genes that are useful in the deep phylogeny of several organisms (mainly vertebrates) and using neutral markers to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships of organisms and infer current and historical population processes at various spatial and temporal scales. I am mainly question driven rather than organism bound. Thus, I have been working with a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate taxa, ranging from snails, isopods to frogs, lizards, birds and mammals. Additionally, much of my research also focuses on the using techniques suitable for the extraction of ancient DNA from fossil bones (especially large mammals of the Mediterranean region, such as elephants, deer, hippos) in order to re-evaluate the current taxonomic status of those species and to reconstruct their relationships with the modern relatives.


    • Poulakakis N., Vardinoyiannis K. & Mylonas M. 1997. Biogeography of terrestrial molluscs of Kastelorizo Island group. Heldia 4(5), 115.
    • Poulakakis N., Theodorou G.E., Zouros Z. & Mylonas M. 2002. Molecular Phylogeny of the Extinct Pleistocene Dwarf Elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus falconeri from Tilos Island (Dodekanisa, Greece). Journal of Molecular Evolution 55 (3), 364-374.
    • Poulakakis N., Mylonas M., Lymberakis P. & Fassoulas C. 2002. The origin and the taxonomy of the fossil elephants of the island of Crete (Greece): Problems and perspectives. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 186, 163-183.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P., Antoniou A.-B., Chalkia D., Zouros E., Mylonas M. & Valakos E. 2003. Molecular phylogeny and paleogeographic implications of Southern Greek populations of Podarcis erhardii and Podarcis peloponnesiaca (Sauria, Lacertidae) based on partial mtDNA sequences of the cytochrome b gene. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28, 38–46.
    • Mantziou G., Poulakakis N., Valakos E., Lymberakis P. & Mylonas M. 2004. Phylogenetic relations among the three circum-Mediterranean species of Mauremys (Tesudines, Bataguridae) as inferred by mtDNA partial sequences (cyt b gene). Herpetological Journal 14, 35-45.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P. Tsigenopoulos C, Magoulas A. & Mylonas M. 2005. Phylogeny of Ablepharus kitaibelii (Squamata: Scincidae) in East Mediterranean region. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34(2), 245-256.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P., Pafilis P., Valakos E. & Mylonas M. 2005. Phylogeography of Balkan wall lizard (Podarcis taurica) and its relatives inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Ecology 14, 2433-2443.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P., Paragamian K., & Mylonas M. 2005. Barn Owl pellets and the Molecular Phylogeny of micromammals. The case of shrews. Biological Journal of Linnean Society 85, 331-340.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P., Valakos E., Zouros E. & Mylonas M. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of Balkan Podarcis species by Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood Analyses of Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37, 845-857.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P. & Fassoulas C. A. 2005. Deinotherium giganteum KAUP 1829 (Proboscidae, Deinotheriidae) from the Middle Miocene of Siteia (East Crete, Greece). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25(3), 732-736.
    • Poulakakis N., Goulielmos G., Antoniou A., Zouros E., & Mylonas M. 2005. Characterization of microsatellite markers in the wall lizard Podarcis erhardii (Squamata: Lacertidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 5, 549-551.
    • Mantziou G., Antoniou A., Poulakakis N., Goulielmos G., Tsigenopoulos C. S., Pinou, Τ. & Mylonas M. 2005. Characterization of microsatellite markers in the fresh water turtle Mauremys rivulata. Molecular Ecology Notes 5, 727-729.
    • Poulakakis N., Parmakelis A., Lymberakis P., Mylonas M., Zouros E., Reese D. S., Glaberman S., Caccone A. 2006. Ancient DNA forces reconsideration of Mediterranean pygmy elephantids. Biology Letters 2, 451-454.
    • Poulakakis N. 2006. Pygmy, but mammoth. Research highlights, Nature 440, 1092.
    • Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P., Pafilis P., Valakos, E. & Mylonas M. 2006. Aspects of the evolutionary history of Podarcis taurica (Pallas 1814), P. gaigeae (Werner 1930) and P. milensis (Bedriaga 1882) in Greece. In: Mainland and insular lizards: a Mediterranean perspective. (Claudia Corti, Pietro Lo Cascio, Marta Biaggini, eds), pp. 161-174. Firenze: Firenze University Press (Monografie. Scienze; 8).
    • Poulakakis N., Tselikas A, Bitsakis I., Mylonas M., Lymberakis P. 2007 Does the molecular analysis shed light on the origin of the ancient Greek manuscripts? Journal of Archaeological Science 34, 675-680.
    • Pafilis P., Foufopoulos J., Poulakakis N. Lymberakis P., Valakos E.D. 2007 Digestive performance in five Mediterranean lizard species: effects of temperature and insularity. Journal of Comparative Physiology 177(1), 49-60.
    • Poulakakis N., Parmakelis A., Lymberakis P., Mylonas M., Zouros E., Reese D. S., Glaberman S., Caccone A. 2007 It remains a mammoth DNA fragment. Biology Letters 3, 60-63.
    • E D Valakos, A Kourkouli, M Skopeliti, P Pafilis, N Poulakakis, I Voutsas, P Lymberakis, C Simou, W Voelter and O E Tsitsilonis 2007. Combining immunological and molecular data to assess phylogenetic relations of some Hellenic Podarcis species. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 147(1), 1-10.
    • Lymberakis, P., Poulakakis N., Manthalou, G., Tsigenopoulos, C.S., Magoulas, A., Mylonas, M. 2007. Mitochondrial Phylogeography of Western Palaearctic Rana (Pelophylax) spp. with emphasis in the Eastern Mediterranean populations. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44, 115-125.
    • Poulakakis, N., Pakaki, V., Lymberakis, P. and Mylonas M. 2007 Molecular Phylogeny of the Greek legless skink Ophiomorus punctatissimus (Squamata: Scincidae): The impact of Mid-Aegean trench in its phylogeography. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (in press).
    • Poulakakis, N., Sfenthourakis S. 2008. Molecular phylogeny and phylogeography of the Greek populations of the genus Orthometopon (Isopoda, Oniscidea) based on mtDNA sequences. Zoological Journal of Linnean Society (in press).
    • P. Lymberakis, N. Poulakakis, A. Kaliontzopoulou, E.Valakos and M. Mylonas 2008. Two new species of Podarcis (Squamata: Lacertidae) from Greece. Systematics & Biodiversity (in press).
    • Trichas A., Lagkis A., Triantis K., Poulakakis N., and Chatzaki M. 2008. Biogeographic patterns of darkling beetles (Coleoptera, Tenebrionidae) on four island groups in the south Aegean Sea. Journal of Natural Histrory (in press).
    • Xirouchakis, S.M. & Poulakakis, N. Biometrics, sexual dimorphism and gender determination in an insular population of griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus). ARDEA (under review).
    • Lymberakis P., Poulakakis, N., Paunovic, M., and M. Mylonas. On Chionomys nivalis (Martins, 1842), from Greece: Description of specimens from new localities and their phylogenetic relationships as inferred by mtDNA. Mammalian Biology (under review).
    • Poulakakis, N., Antoniou, A., Mantziou, G., Skartsi, Th., Vasilakis D., Elorriaga J., de la Puente J., Gavashelishvili A., Ghasabyan M., Katzner T., McGrady M., Batbayar N., Fuller M., Natsagdorj T. Population structure, diversity and phylogeography in the near threatened Eurasian Black Vulture Aegypius monachus (Falconiformes; Accipitridae) in Europe: insights from microsatellite and mtDNA variation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B (under review).
    • Kyriazi P., Poulakakis N., Lymberakis P., Parmakelis A., Mantziou G., Tsigenopoulos C. S., Magoulas, A. & Mylonas M. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of circum Mediterranean populations of Ophisops elegans (Sauria: Lacertidae) inferred from mitochondrial sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (under review).
    • Kapli, P., Poulakakis, N., Lymberakis, P. & Mylonas, M. Exploring Phylogenetic Relationships within the family Lacertidae (Reptilia). Amphibia and Reptilia (under review).
    • Poulakakis, N., Stamatakis, A. Recapitulating the evolution of Afrotheria: 29,000bp consolidate their history. Systematic Biology (under review).
    • Kapli P., Lymberakis P., Parmakelis A., Mantziou G., Poulakakis N., Mylonas M. Molecular Phylogeny and evolutionary history of the genus Mesalina (Sauria: Lacertidae) of N. Africa based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (submitted).


Great times, great friends!