Dean of School of Natural Sciences and Medicine, Full Professor

Head of the Ilia State University Institute of Ecology

Head of the Quantitative Ecology Research Programme

graduated from Tbilisi State University (Biology, zoology) (1982). PhD in Ecology from Research Inst. of Ecology, Ural Sci. Center at Sverdlovsk (pres. Ekaterinsburg), Russia, 1987. Research – interspecific competition of amphibians. Work experience – Tbilisi State University, Vietnam Tropical Center (1990), Bangor University, UK (1996-1997, post-doctoral fellow), Zoological Research Institute and Museum Al. Koenig, Bonn, Germany (1998; 1999-2003; post-doctoral fellow, researcher).Studies mostly in ecology, biogeography, population genetics and evolution of amphibians and reptiles. Over 100 published research papers. At Ilia State since 2006, employed as a dean of the school of Life Sciences, director of the Institute of Ecology, and dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Medicine.

Scientific interests / research interests

  • Evolutionary biology
  • Speciation
  • Population ecology and genetics
  • Ecological modeling
  • Biogeography
  • Human population genetics
  • Caucasus
  • Amphibians and reptiles were the main research object for many years, however, in recent years the projects are on different organisms, including conifer plants, lizards, snails, domestic animals, and humans.

  • Barateli, N., Tarkhnishvili, D., Iankoshvili, G., Kokiashvili, L., Dvali, N., & Janiashvili, Z. (2021). Fine-scale analysis of habitat occupancy by Kura lizard (Darevskia portschinskii) and its daughter parthenogenetic form (Darevskia dahli). Herpetozoa, 34, 71.
  • Shakarashvili, M., Kopaliani, N., Gurielidze, Z., Dekanoidze, D., Ninua, L., & Tarkhnishvili, D. (2020). Population genetic structure and dispersal patterns of grey wolfs (Canis lupus) and golden jackals (Canis aureus) in Georgia, the Caucasus. Journal of Zoology, 312(4), 227-238.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Yanchukov, A., Şahin, M. K., Gabelaia, M., Murtskhvaladze, M., Candan, K., … & Anderson, C. L. (2020). Genotypic similarities among the parthenogenetic Darevskia rock lizards with different hybrid origins. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 20(1), 1-25.
  • Galoyan, E., Moskalenko, V., Gabelaia, M., Tarkhnishvili, D., Spangenberg, V., Chamkina, A., & Arakelyan, M. (2020). Syntopy of two species of rock lizards (Darevskia raddei and Darevskia portschinskii) may not lead to hybridization between them. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 288, 43-52.
  • Murtskhvaladze, M., Tarkhnishvili, D., Anderson, C. L., & Kotorashvili, A. (2020). Phylogeny of caucasian rock lizards (Darevskia) and other true lizards based on mitogenome analysis: Optimisation of the algorithms and gene selection. Plos one, 15(6), e0233680.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gabelaia, M., & Adriaens, D. (2020). Phenotypic divergence, convergence and evolution of Caucasian rock lizards (Darevskia). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 130(1), 142-155.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Barateli, N., Murtskhvaladze, M., & Iankoshvili, G. (2020). Estimating phenotypic heritability of sexual and unisexually reproducing rock lizards (genus Darevskia). Zoologischer Anzeiger, 285, 105-113.
  • Candan, K., Kornilios, P., Yanchukov, A., Kumlutas, Y., Ayaz, D., Tarkhnishvili, D.,& Sahin, M. K. (2019). Molecular Phylogeny of Valentin’s Lizard, Darevskia valentini,(Boettger, 1892) Reveals New Genetic Lineages and may suggest Taxonomic Reconstruction.
  • Thormann, J., Ahrens, D., Anderson, C., Astrin, J. J., Mumladze, L., Rulik, B.,… Tarkhnishvili, D… & Iankoshvili, G. (2019). A prelude to the Caucasus Barcode of Life Platform (CaBOL): Biodiversity Days in Georgia in 2018 and 2019. Bonn zoological Bulletin, 68(2), 275-296.
  • Gabelaia, M., Tarkhnishvili, D., & Adriaens, D. (2018). Use of three-dimensional geometric morphometrics for the identification of closely related species of Caucasian rock lizards (Lacertidae: Darevskia). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 125(4), 709-717
  • Ninua, L., Tarkhnishvili, D., & Gvazava, E. (2018). Phylogeography and taxonomic status of trout and salmon from the Ponto‐Caspian drainages, with inferences on European Brown Trout evolution and taxonomy. Ecology and evolution, 8(5), 2645-2658.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gabelaia, M., Kandaurov, A., Bukhnikashvili, A., & Iankoshvili, G. (2017). Isolated population of the Middle Eastern Phoenicolacerta laevis from the Georgian Black Sea Coast, and its genetic closeness to populations from southern Turkey. Zoology in the Middle East, 63(4), 311-315.
  • Gabelaia, M., Adriaens, D., & Tarkhnishvili, D. (2017). Phylogenetic signals in scale shape in Caucasian rock lizards (Darevskia species). Zoologischer Anzeiger, 268, 32-40.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Murtskhvaladze, M., & Anderson, C. L. (2017). Coincidence of genotypes at two loci in two parthenogenetic rock lizards: how backcrosses might trigger adaptive speciation. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 121(2), 365-378.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gavashelishvili, A., Murtskhvaladze, M., & Latsuzbaia, A. (2016). Landscape complexity in the Caucasus impedes genetic assimilation of human populations more effectively than language or ethnicity. Human Biology, 88(4), 287-300.
  • Gavashelishvili, A., & Tarkhnishvili, D. (2016). Biomes and human distribution during the last ice age. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25(5), 563-574.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gabelaia, M., Mumladze, L., & Murtskhvaladze, M. (2016). Mitochondrial phylogeny of the Darevskia saxicola complex: two highly deviant evolutionary lineages from the easternmost part of the range. The Herpetological Journal, 26(2), 175-182.

Most cited publications

  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gokhelashvili,R. (1999). The Amphibians of the Caucasus. Pensoft, Sofia.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gavashelishvili, A., & Mumladze, L. (2012). Palaeoclimatic models help to understand current distribution of Caucasian forest species. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 105(1), 231-248.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D. N., Thorpe, R. S., & Arntzen, J. W. (2000). Pre-Pleistocene refugia and differentiation between populations of the Caucasian salamander (Mertensiella caucasica). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 14(3), 414-422.
  • Murtskhvaladze, M., Gavashelishvili, A., & Tarkhnishvili, D. (2010). Geographic and genetic boundaries of brown bear (Ursus arctos) population in the Caucasus. Molecular Ecology, 19(9), 1829-1841.
  • Kopaliani, N., Shakarashvili, M., Gurielidze, Z., Qurkhuli, T., & Tarkhnishvili, D. (2014). Gene flow between wolf and shepherd dog populations in Georgia (Caucasus). Journal of Heredity, 105(3), 345-353.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gavashelishvili, A., Avaliani, A., Murtskhvaladze, M., & Mumladze, L. (2010). Unisexual rock lizard might be outcompeting its bisexual progenitors in the Caucasus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 101(2), 447-460.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D. (2012). Evolutionary history, habitats, diversification, and speciation in Caucasian rock lizards. Advances in zoology research, 2, 79-120.
  • Weddeling, K., Hachtel, M., Sander, U., & Tarkhnishvili, D. (2004). Bias in estimation of newt population size: a field study at five ponds using drift fences, pitfalls and funnel traps. Herpetological Journal, 14(1), 1-8.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Hille, A., & BÖhme, W. (2001). Humid forest refugia, speciation and secondary introgression between evolutionary lineages: differentiation in a Near Eastern brown frog, Rana macrocnemis. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 74(2), 141-156.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D. (2014). Historical biogeography of the Caucasus (No. A). NOVA science publishers.

Supervision of completed PhD dissertations

  • Gavashelishvili, Alexander. Ilia State University. 2009. Prediction of species’ distribution: habitat modeling in the Caucasus.
  • Murtskhvaladze, Marine. Ilia State University. Oct. 2012. Studies in speciation and the analysis of animal population structure in the Caucasus.
  • Mumladze, Levan. Ilia State University. July 2013. Diversity and geographic distribution of Land Snails in Georgia.
  • Chaladze, Giorgi. Ilia State University. July 2015. Biodiversity Modeling and development of Biodiversity Database for Georgia.
  • Gratiashvili, Nana. Ilia State University. 2016. Investigation of the Caucasian and Alpine ants ((Myrmoxenus tamarae (Arnol’di, 1968), Leptothorax scamni Ruzsky, 1905, Leptothorax acervorum (Fabricius, 1793))
  • Martkopishvili, Inga. Ilia State University. 2017. The diet and medicinal remedies of humans from Upper Paleolitic, Neolitic, and Bronse Age of Georgia.
  • Javakhishvili, Zurab. Ilia State University. 2018. Seasonal movements of birds in Georgia and their role in the expansion of bird influenza.
  • Gabelaia, Mariam. Ilia State University. 2019. Phylogeny and morphological variation in the rock lizards of the genus Darevskia.
  • Gabelaia, M., Tarkhnishvili, D.,Murtskhvaladze, M. 2015.Phylogeography and morphological variation in a narrowly distributed Caucasian rock lizard, Darevskia mixta.Amphibia-Reptilia 36: 45-54
  • Tarkhnishvili, D., Gavashelishvili, A., Murtskhvaladze, M., Gabelaia, M., Tevzadze, G. 2014.Human Paternal Lineages, Languages and Environment in the Caucasus.Human Biology 86: 113-130
  • Kopaliani N., Shakarashvili M., Gurielidze Z., Qurkhuli T. &Tarkhnishvili, D. 2014.Gene flow between wolf and shepherd dog populations in Georgia (Caucasus).Journal of Heredity doi:10.1093/jhered/esu014
  • Tarkhnishvili, D. Rana macrocnemis (Boulenger, 1885)–KleinasiatischerBraunfrosch. Pp. 263-293 In: Grossenbacher, K. (ed.), Handbuch der Reptilien und AmphibienEuropas, V. 5. AULA-verlag, Wiebelsheim.
  • Tarkhnishvili D., Murtskhvaladze M., Gavashelishvili A. 2013. Speciation in Caucasian lizards: climatic dissimilarity of the habitats is more important than isolation time. Biological Journal of the LinneanSociety 109 (4): 876-892.
  • Mumladze L., Tarkhnishvili D., Murtskhvaladze M. 2013.Systematics and evolutionary history of large endemic snails from the Caucasus (Helix buchii, H. goderdziana).American Malacological Bulletin 31 (2): 225-234.
  • Murtskhvaladze M, Gurielidze Z, Kopaliani N, Tarkhnishvili D. 2012. Gene introgression between Gazella subguturrosa and marica: limitations of maternal inheritance analysis for species identification with conservation purposes. ActaTheriologica57 (4): 383-386.
  • Tarkhnishvili, D. Evolutionary History, Habitats, Diversification, and Speciation in Caucasian Rock Lizards. Pp. 79-120 In: Advances in Zoology Research, Volume 2 (ed. Jenkins OP), Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge (NY)
  • Tarkhnishvili, D, Gavashelishvili, A., Mumladze, L. 2012. Palaeoclimatic models help to understand current distribution of Caucasian forest species. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 105, 231-248.
  • Pokryszko, BA, Cameron RAD, Mumladze L, Tarkhnsihvili D. 2011. Forest snail faunas from Georgian Transcaucasia: patterns of diversity in a Pleistocene refugium. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 102, 239-250
  • Tarkhnishvili D, Gavashelishvili A, Avaliani A, Murtskhvaladze M, Mumladze L. 2010.Unisexual rock lizard might be outcompeting its bisexual progenitors in the Caucasus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 101, 447-460
  • Murtskhvaladze M, Gavashelishvili A, Tarkhnishvili D. 2010.Geographic and genetic boundaries of brown bear (Ursus arctos) population in the Caucasus. Molecular Ecology, 19, 1829-1841

An extensive list of publications:

Current Courses

Course Catalog

  • An introductory course “Evolution – From Darwin to Present: Facts and Theories”;
  • BSc course “Essentials of Ecology”,
  • “Statistics for Biologists” (MSc)and “Population Ecology and Genetics” (MSc) BSc and MSc, taught within BSc and MSc courses in Biology and Ecology