Research interests

Working on the SNF project "Evolutionary dynamics of drift load and its role in species distribution limits"

Why species have geographically restricted distributions is an unresolved question in biogeography. Previous work has emphasized the importance of dispersal limitation and ecological factors such as temperature and precipitation in delimiting distributions. Another factor that has only recently been put forward as a driver of distribution limits is genetic drift opposing directional and purifying selection at the edges. In my PhD, I estimate the extent to which climate adaptation at range edges is constrained by genetic drift. Furthermore, I focus on the role of plant-pollinator interaction in contributing to range limits.

Professional experience

2016 – 2020 PhD student - University of Basel - SNF project "Evolutionary dynamics of drift load and its role in species distribution limits"
2016 (Apr-July)
Ranger in Zealandia Sanctuary Wellington (New Zealand). Ranger positon in a reserve natural park.
2013 2014 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid (Spain) - Collaboration in the research project "Growth of aromatic plants in vitro, propagation and acclimatisation; specifically with Thymus zygis" and "The beneficial use of Trichoderma harzianum and Pseudomonas sp. in the growth of Thymus zygis". With Arancha Gómez Garay and Beatriz Pintos Lopez, Department of Plant Biotechnology.
2013 Research project in the University of Otago (New Zealand), Department of Botany. Collaboration in  "Growth and development of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 mutant and wild genotypes, in different culture mediums (BG-11 y YBG-11) combine with variation in pH, iron and glucose concentrations" Supervised by Dr Tina Summerfield, Department of Biotechnology and Bacterial Biotechology, University of Otago.


2016 – 2020 Universiy of Basel, PhD student
2011 – 2014
University of Otago (New Zealand) and University Complutense of Madrid (Spain); Master in Botany and Zoology
2008 – 2011 University Complutense of Madrid (Spain); Bachelor in Biology


Sanchez Castro D (2020) Climate mal-adaptation and biotic interactions at species’ range limits. PhD thesis, University of Basel

Perrier A, Sánchez-Castro D, Willi Y (2020) Expressed mutational load increases toward the edge of a species' geographic range. Evolution 74:1711-1723,doi: 10.1111/evo.14042

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Darío Sánchez Castro

Universität Basel
Departement Umweltwissenschaften
Pflanzenökologie und -evolution
Schönbeinstrasse 6
CH-4056 Basel

Tel: +41 61 207 59 28