Ecological genomics in urbanizing burrowing owls

Abstract Recent colonizations of urban habitats represent an ideal situation in which to study contemporary adaptation to novel environments in the wild. Several such adaptations at the behavioural level have been reported for the American burrowing owl. However, nothing is known how this translates to changes in the genome. Potential scenarios range from adaptive plasticity to different forms of directional selection. The successful candidate will exploit fresh genomic sequence data of multiple contrasting populations in urban and rural sites as well as of temporal samples of adapting owl populations. The analyses will extend to association tests between specific genomic loci and hypothesized behavioural traits within populations. Interested candidates should have a strong interest in population genomics and bioinformatics with an evolutionary biology background.

Keywords population genomics, bioinformatics, selection signatures, urbanization, genotype-phenotype associations, birds

Main advisor Jakob Mueller, MPIO Seewiesen

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