One of the oldest and most fundamental objectives of evolutionary biology is to elucidate how genotype is linked to fitness variation. 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 use a combination of classical population genetic approaches and cutting-edge genomic methods to study wild 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 fur seals breeding in the Antarctic. These systems provide a wealth of individual-based data that can be linked to genotype. For instance, we recently used detailed genetic, life-history and environmental data to show that climate change is selecting for increased genetic diversity in a declining Antarctic fur seal population. Building upon the theme of climate change, we have also started combining 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: