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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Luca Pozzi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Anthropology

Research area: Biological Anthropology

Email: luca.pozzi@utsa.edu

Phone: (210) 458-7558

Office: MH 4.03.32

Research in Progress

My research centers on primate biodiversity and conservation. The rapid environmental and climatic changes induced by human activity are the primary factors responsible for the decline of biodiversity in recent decades. As most forest-dwelling animals, primates are particularly susceptible to this change, and the number of species under threat or critically endangered is constantly increasing. A better understanding of the drivers that shaped biodiversity in the past can provide critical information to interpret and predict how wild populations may respond to present and future changes.

The main goals of my work are to 1) document primate biodiversity, 2) explore the dynamics of diversification, such as the ecological and evolutionary driving factors that shape diversification in time and space, and 3) understand how primates respond to human-induced environmental and climatic change. To address these questions I use a multidisciplinary approach that draws from phylogenetics, population genetics and genomics, comparative methods, biogeography, and behavioral ecology.


Ph.D., New York University, 2013


My commitment as a teacher is to bring the interdisciplinary approach I use in my own research to the class. I develop curricula and pedagogical practices that draw from multiple fields within and outside science. This approach allows me to stimulate students’ curiosity and make science more approachable. In all my classes, I promote the development of scientific thinking through active problem-solving.

As an evolutionary anthropologist and as a teacher I have three main learning goals for these students: 1) to cultivate a genuine interest in science and to develop an understanding of the scientific method; 2) to understand fundamentals of biology and to confront common misconceptions in anthropology and evolutionary biology; and 3) to reduce “science anxiety” and to relate biology concepts to their lives and fields of study. Whether in small classes or large, all of my pedagogical strategies are dedicated to engage the students in discussions about the debates and controversies animating the field of anthropology and evolutionary biology, and to stimulate a life-time curiosity about science.

Prospective students: I am currently accepting MA and PhD students. I am especially interested in applicants whose proposed research focuses on one or more of the following areas: primate conservation and population genetics; phylogenetics and comparative methods; species boundaries in cryptic species; habitat fragmentation and 
primates responses to human-induced environmental change. Current areas of focus are sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. 

Current Ph.D. students: Averee Luhrs, Anna Penna

Representative Publications

2020 – Pozzi L, Penna A, Bearder SK, Karlsson J, Perkin A, Disotell TR. Cryptic diversity and species boundaries within the Paragalago zanzibaricus species complex. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 150, 106887

2019 – Kappeler PM, Pozzi L. Evolutionary transitions towards pair living in non-human primates as stepping stones towards more complex societies. Science Advances, 5(12), eaay1276 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay1276

2019 – Pozzi L, Disotell TR, Bearder SK, Karlsson J, Perkin A, Gamba M. Species boundaries within morphologically cryptic galagos: evidence from acoustic and genetic data. Folia Primatologica, 90(5), 279-299.

2017 – Masters JC, Génin F, Couette S, Groves CP, Nash SD, DelPero M, Pozzi L. A new genus for the eastern dwarf galagos (Primates: Galagidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 181: 229–241.

2016 - Pozzi L. The role of forest expansion and contraction in species diversification among galagos (Primates: Galagidae). Journal of Biogeography, 43: 1930–1941

2015 – Pozzi L, Nekaris KAI, Perkin A, Bearder SK, Pimley ER, Schulze H, Streicher U, Nadler T, Kitchener A, Zischler H, Zinner D, Roos C. Remarkable ancient divergences amongst neglected Lorisiform primates. Zoological Journal of Linnean Society, 175: 661-674

2014 – Pozzi L, Disotell TR, Masters JC. A multilocus phylogeny reveals deep lineages within African galagids (Primates: Galagidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14:72.

2014 – Pozzi L, Hodgson JA, Burrell AS, Sterner KN, Raaum RL, Disotell TR. Primate phylogenetic relationships and divergence dates inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 75: 165-183.

2014 – Pozzi L, Bergey CM, Burrell AS. The use (and misuse) of phylogenetic trees in comparative behavioral analyses. International Journal of Primatology, 35: 32-54.

Additional Information

Learn more at http://www.lucapozzi.me/


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Main Office: MH 4.03.38

Department of Anthropology

University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249-1644