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Dr Pablo Orozco-terWengel

Dr Pablo Orozco-terWengel

Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)29 2087 5206
c/5.08, Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I have always been amazed by the diversity of animals and plants. This interest led me to study biology where I learned about population genetics and the possibility of inferring species evolutionary history using molecular markers. My work focuses on using neutral genetic markers (e.g. microsatellites) to understand the interplay between the genealogical history of populations (or species) and their distribution over space and time. However, since the arrival of next generation sequencing I've also become interested in using the power of genomics (e.g. whole genome sequencing) to search for genomic regions involved in the process of local adaptation (e.g. adaptation to temperature or diseases). Understanding how adaptation takes place is extremely important in order to develop frameworks that will help us coping with climate change and ensure species survival into the future. My work covers both wild life (e.g. Malagasy amphibians and South American bears) and domestic taxa (e.g. Iranian sheep and Moroccan goats), and uses a combination of laboratory techniques and bioinformatics.​

If you are intested in joining my research group to do a postdoc, PhD or Master,  please email me.



2005-2011: Doctor in Natural Sciences Veterinary University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria)

  • Thesis Work: Population Genetics of Drosophila (Advisor Dr. Christian Schlötterer)

2003-2005: MSc. Universiteit van Amsterdam (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Thesis Work (1): Population Genetics of Dyscophus (Advisor: Dr. Miguel Vences)
  • Thesis Work (2): Detecting Natural Selection in Hybrids of Lactuca sativa and Lactuca serriola (Advisor: Dr. Danny Hooftman)

1997-2003: B.Sc. (Honors) Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia)

  • Thesis Work: Population Genetic Analysis of the Andean bear by means of 12 microsatellite polymorphic loci (Advisor: Dr. Manuel Ruiz-Garcia)

Professional experience

2018 - present: Vice-president Society of Tropical Ecology (Gesellschaft für Tropenökologie, GTÖ)

2016 - present: Co-coordinator for South America IUCN Conservation Genetics Specialist Group (CGSG)

2014 - present: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

2011 - 2014: Postdoc: Molecular Ecology Lab (Cardiff University) - NextGen: Develop optimized methodologies for preserving farm animal biodiversity in the context of whole genome data availability.

2005: Intern at the Bill & Bernice Grewcock Center for Conservation & Research, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Phylogeographic studies of Dyscophus species and of Malagassy ground and tree boas (Acrantophis & Sanzinia). USA.

Intern in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer (University of Konstanz). Demography of Cichlid fishes. Germany.

2004 - 2005: Intern at Keygene N.V., Wageningen. AFLP analysis of hybrids of Lactuca sativa & Lactuca serriola as part of the Analysis of Gene Flow in Lettuce (ANGEL) project. The Netherlands.

2004: Intern at the Bill & Bernice Grewcock Center for Conservation & Research, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Standardization and analysis of Microsatellites in malagasy frogs (Dyscophus & Mantella) and tortoises (Pixis, Erymnochelis & Geochelonie). USA.

2003: Technical Assistant to Dr. J.C.M den Nijs & Dr. D.A.P. Hooftman in the Analysis of Gene Flow in Lettuce (ANGEL) project at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. The Netherlands.

1997 - 2003: Technical assistant at the Molecular Population Genetics and Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, the Entomology Laboratory, and at the Museum of Natural History of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Academic experience

Population genetics and conservation. Invited lecturer 2013. Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences of the University of Debrecen, Hungary.

1999 - 2000: Academic Bord member Faculty of Science Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Honours and awards

Research in my lab is funded by:

  • NERC
  • Royal Society
  • Newton Fund - Conycit (Peru)
  • Hefcw
  • Genetics Society
  • Socierty for Tropical Ecology
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Professional memberships

  • Society of Tropical Ecology
  • Member of the Genetics Society
  • Member European Society of Evolutionary Biology
  • Member Royal Socity of Biologists
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow Linnean Society

Academic positions

  • 2014 - present: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University
  • 2011 - 2014: Postdoctoral researcher Cardiff Univeristy

Speaking engagements

Outreach activities

  • Conservation of Endangered Species and Wildlife Forensics. The Wales Gene Part sixth from conference 2012
  • BBC Summer of Wildlife Event, 2013. BBC and Cardiff University
  • Royal Welsh 2013, BBC and Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
  • Panellist at film engagement event by Cardiff SciScreen
  • Talks to various community groups, e.g. Cardiff Humanis Society and West Glamorgan Humanists
  • BBC Countryfile piece about Dine Fwr's White Park Cattle genetics
  • BBC Radio Wales piece on the discovery of a new Orangutan species

Committees and reviewing

Co-coordinator for South America of the IUCN SSC Conservation Genetics Specialist Group (CGSG)

Vice-president Society of Tropical Ecology (Gesellschaft für Tropenökologie, GTÖ)

Editor: Conservation Genetics Resources, Ecology & Evolution, Animals, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Ecotropica.

Reviewer: Molecular Ecology, Journal of Applied Ecology, PLoS One, Acta Biologica Colombiana, Heredity and BMC Evolutionary Biology, BMC Genomics, Conservation Genetics, Frontiers in Genetics, Proceedings of the Royal Society (Series B), Current Biology, Resources, Animals, Ecotropica, and Ecology and Evolution.

Grants Reviewer: NERC Peer Review College, BBSRC, European Comission, ERA-Net, Fondecit (Chile), FWF (Austria), Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Belgium, SERNAP Peru




















I carry out a range of teaching from year 1 to final year undergraduate, and the supervision of postgraduate master project students. Current teaching includes contributions to:

  • BI2131 Animal Diversity and Adpatation (Basics of population genetics and quantitative genetics; Module deputy coordinator)
  • BI2134 Ecology & Conservation - Part B (Methods in tropical forest ecology - Borneo fieldcourse |  Danau Girang Field Centre)
  • BI3153 Evoluation & Adaptation (Speciation process, population genetics; Module Assessment coordinator)
  • BI3006 Final Year Projects (undergraduate)
  • BI4001 Research Projects (integrated master)
  • BIT014 Master in Research Project (MRes)
  • BIT054 M.Sc. Global Ecology and Conservaiton Research Project
  • BIT055 M.Sc. Global Ecology and Conservation - Borneo fieldcourse |  Danau Girang Field Centre

My research revolves around questions regarding the process that maintain or drive changes in genetic variation in populations, e.g. demographic processes like bottlenecks and population structure, or natural selection related to adaptive processes to new environments. Within this context, I broadly divide my research in two areas. In one of them (conservation) I focus on understanding historical processes that lead to the observed patterns of genetic diversity, which when contextualised with current environmental trends can be used to contribute information for the generation of management strategies for species conservation. The other area is livestock genomics, where I do research to understand how the domestication process took place and the processes that have led to the current distribution of genetic variation in species such as cattle, sheep, camelids and tilapia, and use that information to contribute to the development of management plans to increase resilience and sustainability of livestock production systems.

My research uses a combination of traditional molecular markers like microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA, but also new methods from the genomics era, like SNP array data and whole genome sequencing, to generate the genetic data for analyses using population genetics, landscape genetics and phylogenetics. I analyse these data with a combination of available tools, or custom made bioinformatic tools that I’ve developed according to the specific needs of a project.


I'm interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Population Genetics
  • Conservation
  • Genomics
  • Livestock
  • Metagenomics and barcoding
  • Bioinformatics

Current supervision


Katherine Mullin

Research student


Nina White

Research student

Luke Davies

Research student

Naeima Hamed

Research student

Mark Butterworth

Research student

Sai Kntayya

Research student


Omar Mussa

Research student

Mr Tyler Cuddy

Research student

Ms Maz Jumail

Research student

Past projects

PhD Students

Dr. Daniel J. Pitt (PhD student; BBSRC; 2022; main supervisor): Unravelling local adaptation in teh genome of livestock.

Dr. Ewan Stenhouse (PhD student; NERC; 2022; main supervisor): Is food availability and choice a limiting factor for declining UK Hawfinch (Coccothrastes coccothrastes) populations?

Dr. Terrence Trinka (PhD student); KESS II; 2022; co-supervisor): Developing a Drosophila model of radiation induced toxicity to identify risk loci.

Dr. Jody Edmunds (PhD student; KESS II; 2021; main supervisor): Genome-wide analysis of maternal ability in Lleyn sheep.

Dr. Mona Hashemi (PhD student; 2021; project supervisor): The effect of the number and type of microsatellite markers on parameter estimation in population genetics diversity studies.

Dr. Christina Paddock (PhD student; NERC; 2021; co-supervisor): Evolutionary history and conservation of the endangered Sanje Mangabey (Cercoebus sanjei) in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania.

Dr. Jordan Cuff (PhD student BBSRC SWBio DTP; 2020; co-supervisor): Nutrient-specific foraging and the role of spiders as biocontrol agents.

Dr. Iain Perry (PhD student; 2020; co-supervisor): Altitudinal adaptations of earthworms.

Dr. Juan Manuel Aguilar Leon (PhD student; 2019; co-supervisor): Understanding anuran responses to rainforest fragmentation an oil palm agriculture in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah, Malaysia.

Dr. Sergio Guerrero-Sanchez (PhD student; 2019; co-supervisor): Eology and health of the Asian water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) in the fragmented landsape of the Kinabatangan floodplain, Sabah, Malaysia.

Dr. Amna Bajwa (PhD Student; 2019; University of Lahore, Pakistan; internship supervisor): Estimation of the Punjab Urial (Ovis vignei punjabiensis) population in the Kalabagh Game Reserve using non-invasive genetic sampling.

Dr. Mario Barbato (PhD student; 2016; co-supervisor): Unravelling the evolutionary history and adpattaion of European mouflon and some domestic sheep populations with special emphasis on the ovines of Sardinia.

Master Students

Peter Reynolds (MBiol; 2022; main supervisor): Conservation genetics of the illegally capture and trafficked Malagasy Plougshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora).

Megan Parker (MBiol; 2022; main supervisor):  The effects of degraded landscapes on the genetic structure of Bornean monitor lizards (Varanus salvator).

Constance Pritchard (MRes; 2021; main supervisor): Population genetics of Rhesus macaques.

Charlotte Taylor (MSc Global Ecology and Conservation; 2021; main supervisor): Tackling Trade: Genetic assignment of illegally trafficked ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) with implications for conservation.

Chloe Hartland (MSc Global Ecology and Conservation; 2021; main supervisor): Genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation for the Asian Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator) in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

Ellen Williams (MBiol; 2021; main supervisor): Responess to oil palm driven habitat fragmentation of the Asian water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Eleanor Thomas (MRes; 2020; main supervisor): Understanding the impacts of habitat fragmentation and modelling the demographic history of the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus).

Patricia Jury-Toro (MSc Student, Bristol University, UK; 2020; main supervisor): Genetic characterisation of guanacos (Lama guanicoe) in South Ameica and 6 introduced individuals in New Zealand: implications for population conservation.

Jessica Brocklebank (MBiol; 2020; main supervisor): Conservation of the world's most endangered tortoise, the Madagascan Ploughshare.

Darius Pease (MBiol; 2020; main supervisor): Genetics and fragmentation in Bornean plantain squirrels.

Ana Maria Agapito (MRes Student, Universidad Bio Bio, Chile; co-supervisor): Domestication and hybridization: solving South American camelids' demographic history.

Ana Maria Chero (MRes Student, Universidad Bio Bio, Chile; co-supervisor): Detection of adaptation patterns to extreme environments vicuña genome.

Sophie Bray (MBiol; 2017; main supervisor): Genetic analysis of maternal ability of Lleyn sheep, Ovis aries.

Bailey Jones (MBiol; 2017; main supervisor): Conservation genetics of the endangered Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii).

Alessandra Bresnan (MRes; main supervisor): Bornean plantain squirrel response to habitat fragmentation.

Jordan Beasely (MRes; 2014; co-supervisor): Conservatino genetics of the endangered 's frog, Rhinoderma darwinii

Charlotte Kelham (MRes; 2013; co-supervisor): Coat colour polymorphism in Ryeland sheep


I engage in a range of activites in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) including the Wales Gene Park initiative, and occasionally through public media.

  • Conservation of Endangered Species and Wildlife Forensics. The Wales Gene Part sixth from conference 2012
  • BBC Summer of Wildlife Event, 2013. BBC and Cardiff University
  • Royal Welsh 2013, BBC and Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
  • Panellist at film engagement event by Cardiff SciScreen
  • Talks to various community groups, e.g. Cardiff Humanis Society and West Glamorgan Humanists
  • BBC Countryfile piece about Dine Fwr's White Park Cattle genetics
  • BBC Radio Wales piece on the discovery of a new Orangutan species