Evolutionary physiology of timing of breeding

Collaborators: Nicole Perfito (UC Berkeley), Bengt Silverin (U Göteborg), George Bentley (UC Berkeley), Tim Greives (Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Radolfzell), Tom Hahn (UC Davis), Marcel Visser (NIOO).

In many habitats, seasonal patterns in environmental conditions vary dramatically across the year. Most species have adjusted the timing of their reproduction to the specific patterns in their particular environment. In my lab, we are investigating where in the physiological cascade that regulates reproduction this adjustment has occurred, and whether this adjustment is the consequence of evolutionary changes in physiological organization.

To answer these questions we have begun studies comparing the molecular organization of the photoperiodic system of great tit populations in Europe. We will also investigate the fitness consequences of variations in photoperiodic responses to the environment, using great tits as a model system.

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