One of the oldest and most fundamental objectives of evolutionary biology is to understand the link between genotype and fitness. This is not only essential for understanding Darwinian fitness and mating system evolution, but also has a bearing on important problems facing society, such as climate change. To tackle this question, we apply classical approaches together with the latest developments in genomics, such as high density SNP genotyping and gene expression profiling, to wild animal populations. Our research is producing increasingly powerful insights into the genetic underpinnings of fitness variation.
Much of our work is based on long-term studies of wild vertebrate populations such as seals and mongooses. These systems provide a wealth of individual-based data that can be linked to genotype. For instance, we recently used detailed genotypic, life-history and environmental data to show that climate change is selecting for increased heterozygosity in a declining Antarctic fur seal population. Building upon the theme of climate change, we have also begun to combine genomic with geographical, time series and experimental approaches to explore the genetic basis of adaptation to environmental change, using marine invertebrates as model systems.
We gratefully acknowledge funding from: