October 21 2009

12:00 LSB 2320

Zachary Cheviron
Center for Tropical Research, Institute of the Environment, UCLA

Ecological genomics of high-altitude adaptation in Rufous-collared Sparrows (Zonotrichia capensis)


Species with broad elevational distributions experience dramatically different selective pressures at the extremes of their altitudinal ranges. There are a number of well-characterized biochemical pathways that may be expected to be important in coping with the physiological challenges of living in cold, hypoxic high-altitude habitats, and as result, species with large elevational ranges offer exciting opportunities to study both the influences of microevolutionary processes on local adaptation, and the mechanistic basis of adaptive traits. The Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) has one of the broadest elevational ranges of any passerine songbird. Along the Pacific slope of the Andes in Peru, Z. capensis is continuously distributed from sea-level to over 4600m above sea-level, and populations occurring at the extremes of this range differ in physiological parameters that are likely to be adaptive. In this talk, I will discuss recent work that combines population genetic analyses with functional studies of sequence variation in candidate genes and microarray analysis of genomic gene expression profiles to examine to role of elevational gradients in population divergence and to elucidate the molecular genetic basis of high-altitude adaptation.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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