RNDr. Václav Gvoždík, Ph.D.

Position: full-time researcher
Research topics: evolutionary history, herpetology
Department: External research facility Studenec
Phone: +420 560 590 622
E-mail: vaclav.gvozdikivb.cz

Personal webpage

Research interests

  • Evolution, speciation and phylogenetic diversification of vertebrates using molecular-genetic approaches, analyses of phenotype and biogeographic applications.
  • phylogeography, phylogenetics and biogeography of vertebrates of the Palearctic and Afrotropic ecozones,
  • molecular systematics and integrative taxonomy of amphibians and reptiles,
  • biodiversity of Africa and its conservation, Congo Basin,
  • herpetology.

Effective species conservation relies on a good knowledge of the biodiversity richness. This further helps us to better understand inter-organismal relationships in ecosystems and evolutionary processes. Africa is one of the least scientifically-explored regions of the World, particularly the Congo Basin. Knowledge of the biodiversity and distribution patterns in Africa therefore deserves detailed study.

Running Projects

ANGUIOMICS: Genomic insights into the evolutionary history and contact zones of slow-worm lizards (Anguis) (2018-2020)

Finished Projects

Amphibian species diversification across sky-island and lowland rainforests in a spatial and ecological context: genome-wide and continental transect (2015-2017)

Running projects

  • Speciation patterns in sky islands – Evolutionary history of montane amphibians of Africa (in cooperation with University of Basel, Switzerland).


  • 2003-2010: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology
  • 2003: undergraduate study – MSc. thesis: „Interspecific and intraspecific variation of Hyla savignyi and Hyla arborea tree frogs” (supervisor: Jiří Moravec, National Museum).
  • 2010: Ph.D. study – thesis: „Phenotypic and molecular approaches in the systematics of the Palearctic and Neotropic tree frogs, Hyla and Osteocephalus (Amphibia: Hylidae)“ (supervisor: Jiří Moravec, National Museum; advisor: Petr Kotlík, IAPG AS CR).


  • 2005–2007: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology – research assistant,
  • 2005–2013: Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics AS CR, Liběchov (2005-2009 postgrad; 2010-2013 postdoc),
  • 2012–2013: University of Basel, Biogeography Research Group, Switzerland – postdoctoral fellowship,
  • 2006–present: National Museum, Department of Zoology, Prague – scientific researcher,
  • 2014–present: Institute of Vertebrate Zoology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Brno – scientific researcher.

Academic service

  • editor of Herpetology Notes,
  • committee member of the Czech Herpetological Society,
  • reviewer for scientific journals, e.g. African Journal of Herpetology, Amphibia – Reptilia, Animal Biology, Asian Herpetological Research, Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Contributions to Zoology, Current Zoology, Herpetologica, Journal of Biogeography, Journal of Heredity, Revista de Biología Tropical, Zoologica Scripta, Zoological Science,
  • reviewer for Czech and foreign grant agencies,
  • assessor for IUCN African amphibian assessment.

Main international collaboration

  • University of Basel, Biogeography Research Group, Basel, Switzerland (S. P. Loader),
  • Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Joint Experimental Molecular Unit, Brussels, Belgium (Z. T. Nagy),
  • Comenius University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Bratislava, Slovakia (P. Mikulíček, D. Jandzik),
  • short stays at research institutes: Great Britain – Natural History Museum, London; Spain – National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid; Germany – Natural History Museum, Berlin, Senckenberg Natural History Collections, Dresden; Italy – Trento Science Museum; Switzerland – Muséum d histoire naturelle, Geneva; Austria – Natural History Museum, Vienna; Israel – Galilee Biotechnology Center, Kiryat Shmona; Belgium – Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren,

fieldwork in several countries of Europe, Middle East, Caucasus, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa: Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania.

Current PhD students

  • Daniel Jablonski – Phylogeography of slow worms (Anguis) in the Balkans (Comenius University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Bratislava, Slovakia; advisor).
  • Matej Dolinay - Species diversification of African amphibians in spatial and ecological context (Institute of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University Brno; supervisor).

Former students

  • Petr Kůs – Genetic variation of horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus) in the Eastern Mediterranean (advisor).
  • Jan Šrámek – Genetic diversity of the Western Palearctic bent-winged bats (Miniopterus) (advisor).
  • Helena Šifrová – Genetic variation of slow worms (Anguis) in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Offered topics of Bachelor and Master thesis

please enquire by email



Dolinay M., Taboue G. C. T., Fokam E. B., Gvoždík V.: Geographic and altitudinal range extension of Arthroleptis palava (Anura: Arthroleptidae) from the Cameroon Volcanic Line, Herpetology notes 11 (2018) 557-560.

Gvoždík V., Dolinay M., Zassi-Boulou A.-G., Babangenge G. B.: New data on Trachylepis makolowodei from Central Africa, Herpetology notes 11 (2018) 515-518.

Charles K. L., Bell R. C., Blackburn D. C., Burger M., Fujita M. K., Gvoždík V., Jongsma G. F. M., Kouete M. T., Leaché A. D., Portik D. M.: Sky, sea, and forest islands: Diversification in the African leaf-folding frog Afrixalus paradorsalis (Anura: Hyperoliidae) of the Lower Guineo-Congolian rain forest, Journal of Biogeography 45 (2018) 1781-1794.

Jandzik D., Jablonski D., Zinenko O., Kukushkin O. V., Moravec J., Gvoždík V.: Pleistocene extinctions and recent expansions in an anguid lizard of the genus Pseudopus, Zoologica Scripta 47 (2018) 21-32.

Kotsakiozi P., Jablonski D., Ilgaz Ç., Kumlutaş Y., Avci A., Meiri S., Itescu Y., Kukushkin O., Gvoždík V., Scillitani G., Roussos S. A., Jandzik D., Kasapidis P., Lymberakis P., Poulakakis N.: Multilocus phylogeny and coalescent species delimitation in Kotschy's gecko, Mediodactylus kotschyi: Hidden diversity and cryptic species, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 125 (2018) 177-187.

Mikulíček P., Jablonski D., Páleník M., Gvoždík V., Jandzik D.: Characterization of microsatellite markers in the genera Anguis and Pseudopus (Reptilia: Anguidae), Salamandra 54 (2018) 158-162.


Bell R. C., Parra J. L., Badjedjea G., Barej M. F., Blackburn D. C., Burger M., Channing A., Dehling J. M., Greenbaum E., Gvoždík V., Kielgast J., Kusamba C., Lötters S., McLaughlin P. J., Nagy Z. T., Rödel M.-O., Portik D. M., Stuart B. L., VanDerWal J., Zassi-Boulou A.-G., Zamudio K. R.: Idiosyncratic responses to climate-driven forest fragmentation and marine incursions in reed frogs from Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea Islands, Molecular Ecology 26 (2017) 5223-5244.

Doherty-Bone T. M., Gvoždík V.: The amphibians of Mount Oku, Cameroon: an updated species inventory and conservation review, ZooKeys 643 (2017) 109-139.

Jablonski D., Najbar B., Grochowalska R., Gvoždík V., Strzała T.: Phylogeography and postglacial colonization of Central Europe by Anguis fragilis and Anguis colchica, Amphibia-Reptilia 38 (2017) 562-569.

Lehr E., Moravec J., Cusi J. C., Gvoždík V.: A new minute species of Pristimantis (Amphibia: Anura: Craugastoridae) with a large head from the Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park in central Peru, with comments on the phylogenetic diversity of Pristimantis occurring in the Cordillera Yanachaga, European Journal of Taxonomy 325 (2017) 1-22.

Zimkus B. M., Lawson L. P., Barej M. F., Barratt C. D., Channing A., Dash K. M., Dehling J. M., Du Preez L., Gehring P.-S., Greenbaum E., Gvoždík V., Harvey J., Kielgast J., Kusamba C., Nagy Z. T., Pabijan M., Penner J., Rödel M.-O., Vences M., Lötters S.: Leapfrogging into new territory: How Mascarene ridged frogs diversified across Africa and Madagascar to maintain their ecological niche, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 106 (2017) 254-269.


Jablonski D., Jandzik D., Mikulíček P., Džukić G., Ljubisavljević K., Tzankov N., Jelić D., Thanou E., Moravec J., Gvoždík V.: Contrasting evolutionary histories of the legless lizards slow worms (Anguis) shaped by the topography of the Balkan Peninsula, BMC Evolutionary Biology 16 (2016) .

Liedtke H. C., Müller H., Rödel M.-O., Menegon M., Gonwouo L. N., Barej M. F., Gvoždík V., Schmitz A., Channing A., Nagel P., Loader S. P.: No ecological opportunity signal on a continental scale? Diversification and life-history evolution of African true toads (Anura: Bufonidae), Evolution 70 (2016) 1717-1733.


Bell R. C., Drewes R. C., Channing A., Gvoždík V., Kielgast J., Lötters S., Stuart B. L., Zamudio K. R.: Overseas dispersal of Hyperolius reed frogs from Central Africa to the oceanic islands of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Journal of Biogeography 42 (2015) 65-75.

Evans B. J., Carter T. F., Greenbaum E., Gvoždík V., Kelley D. B., McLaughlin P. J., Pauwels O. S. G., Portik D. M., Stanley E. L., Tinsley R. C., Tobias M. L., Blackburn D. C.: Genetics, morphology, advertisement calls, and historical records distinguish six new polyploid species of African clawed frog (Xenopus, Pipidae) from West and Central Africa, PLoS ONE 10 (2015) .

Furman B. L. S., Bewick A. J., Harrison T. L., Greenbaum E., Gvoždík V., Kusamba C., Evans B. J.: Pan-African phylogeography of a model organism, the African clawed frog "Xenopus laevis", Molecular Ecology 24 (2015) 909-925.

Gvoždík V., Canestrelli D., García-París M., Moravec J., Nascetti G., Recuero E., Teixeira J., Kotlík P.: Speciation history and widespread introgression in the European short-call tree frogs (Hyla arborea sensu lato, H. intermedia and H. sarda), Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 83 (2015) 143-155.

Penske S., Gvoždík V., Menegon M., Loader S. P., Müller H.: Description of the tadpole of Leptopelis cf. grandiceps (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae) from the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania, Herpetological Journal 25 (2015) 61-64.


Barej M. F., Rödel M.-O., Loader S. P., Menegon M., Gonwouo N.L., Penner J., Gvoždík V., Günther R., Bell R. C., Nagel B., Schmitz A.: Light shines through the spindrift – Phylogeny of African torrent frogs (Amphibia, Anura, Petropedetidae), Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71 (2014) 261-273.

Gvoždík V., Tillack F., Menegon M., Loader S. P.: The status of Leptopelis barbouri Ahl, 1929 and eleven other nomina of the current tree-frog genus Leptopelis (Arthroleptidae) described from East Africa, with a redescription of Leptopelis grandiceps Ahl, 1929, Zootaxa 3793 (2014) 165-187.

Nagy Z. T., Gvoždík V., Meirte D., Collet M., Pauwels O. S. G.: New data on the morphology and distribution of the enigmatic Schouteden's sun snake, Helophis schoutedeni (de Witte, 1922) from the Congo Basin, Zootaxa 3755 (2014) 96-100.


Nagy Z. T., Kusamba C., Collet M., Gvoždík V.: Notes on the herpetofauna of western Bas-Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Herpetology notes 6 (2013) 413-419.