Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona


Science Scientific departments Vertebrates

The Collection of Vertebrates at the Museum includes not only this vast group (it represents the 99% of the collection) but also other taxa of chordates. The phylum Chordata includes all animals that have a neural tube (cord) running along their back at some stage in their life cycle. In many chordates this cord is protected by a bony column, the vertebral column (vertebrates).

The vertebrates in the collection are used for scientific studies in biology, palaeontology and medicine, which are carried out by the Museum researchers and other external researchers.

The Department’s own lines of research are focused on:

  1. Vertebrate ecology, from theoretical studies (e.g. on behaviour, evolution, biology of fishes and amphibians, etc.) to more applied studies on perturbation ecology (e.g. space-time distribution of birds, bioindicators, conservation biology).
  2. Research on zoological collections: retrospective population genetics and zoological preparation techniques. In addition, parts of these collections are exhibited here and in other science museums. They are also used for educational purposes here and in other centres.


  • Staff
  • Projects
  • Publications

Museum staff

External staff

  • Olga Boet, Collection Assistance , Myrmex
  • Alba Ortega-Segalerva, Collection Assistance , Myrmex
  • Jèssica Martínez-Vargas, Preparation of specimens , Myrmex
  • Santiago Guallar, Research


Collaborators in document management and collection research

  • Olga Boet: Scientific collaborator in Mammalogy
  • Marc Illa: Scientific collaborator in Ornithology
  • Rafael González de Lucas: Scientific collaborator in Ornithology
  • Josep Escribano: Scientific collaborator in Ichthyology
  • Lluis Garcia-Petit: Scientific collaborator in Archaeozoology
  • Alejandro Garcia-Salmerón: Scientific collaborator in Herpetology
  • Rocío Pèrez-Portela: Scientific collaborator in Urochordata
  • Daniele Mazzoni: Scientific collaborator in Zoological Preparation

Collaborators in Vertebrate research

  • Santiago Guallar: Vertebrate ecology
  • Naike Abad: Vertebrate ecology
  • Oriol Tello: Vertebrate ecology

External collaborators

  • Ian Macgregor-Fors , University of Helsinki, Niemenkatu 73, FI-15140 Lahti, Finland
  • Pamela Yeh , Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,Universitat de California Berkeley, USA
  • Rocío Pérez-Portela , Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona
  • Rafael González de Lucas , Parc Natural del Garraf (Barcelona), Catalonia, Spain

Projects connected with the collections

In the last few years our efforts have been focused on advancing and improving zoological preparation, the restoration of specimens, preventive conservation and scientific review. At present these projects are ongoing, while new ones, such as the development of chordate preparation techniques and the expansion of the tissue bank by establishing temporary series of reference species of Iberian fauna, are also under way (Head researcher: Javier Quesada).

We are also carrying out studies on documentation, using molecular and population genetics techniques (Head researchers: Rocío Pèrez-Portela and Javier Quesada).

Research projects on Vertebrate Ecology



  • (More representative publications)

    Quesada,J., Aurell-Garrido, J.; Gago,S.; Boet, O. & Garcia-Franquesa, E. 2016. ”Measurement errors in 3D models used in osteometric data research with freeware: a test using skulls of the algerian hedgehog (Atelerix algirus)”. Vertebrate Zoology. (SCI) In press.

  • Santos, X., Mateos, E., Bros, V., Brotons, L., De Mas, E., Herraiz, J. A., Herrando, S., Miño, A., Olmo-Vidal, J. M., Quesada, J., Ribes, J., Sabaté, S., Sauras-Yera, T., Serra, A., Vallejo, V. R. & Viñolas, A., 2014. Is response to fire influenced by dietary specialization and mobility? A comparative study with multiple animal assemblages. Plos One, 9(2): e88224. (SCI)

  • Senar, J. C., Conroy, M. J., Quesada, J. & Mateos-González, F., 2014. Selection based on the size of the black tie of the Great tit may be reversed in urban habitats. Ecology & Evolution, 74(13): 2625-32 (SCI)

  • Quesada, J., Chávez-Zichinelli, C. A., Senar, J. C. & Schondube, J. E., 2013. Plumage coloration in Blue Grosbeaks has no dual function: a test of the armament-ornament model of sexual selection. The Condor, 115: 902-909  (SCI)


  • Chávez-Zichinelli, C. A., MacGregor-Fors, I., Quesada, J., Talamás Rohana, P., Romano, M. C., Valdéz, R., Schondube, J. E., 2013. How stressed are birds in an urbanizing landscape? Relationships between different habitat conditions and the physiology of birds in three subtropical conditions. The Condor, 115: 1-9 (SCI)

  • List of all the department publications