Dr. Nusha Keyghobadi
Molecular ecology and landscape genetics
RESEARCH AND COLLABORATIONS
At a broad level, I am interested in various aspects of the ecology and evolution of spatially structured populations. I make extensive use of molecular tools in tackling such questions, so much of my research falls within the realm of molecular ecology. More specifically, my main research focus is in the emerging field of ‘landscape genetics’. Landscape genetics is a rapidly growing discipline that represents an integration of landscape ecology and traditional population genetics, and aims to understand how landscape structure affects the dynamics of genes in populations.
Because dispersal is a key process that links landscape structure to population genetic structure, understanding the causes and consequences of dispersal is also a theme of my research.
Recently, our lab has been developing two new study systems that are well suited to addressing certain questions in landscape genetics: the insects that are commensal inhabitants of the carnivorous pitcher plant and swallowtail butterflies associated with fragmented forests. We are taking advantage of the unique properties of these systems to address questions such as:
- How are results of landscape genetic studies affected by the spatial scales at which (a) samples are collected, (b) landscape variables measured, and (c) underlying ecological and evolutionary processes operate?
- How does the spatial arrangement of habitat patches in a landscape affect patterns of genetic variation?
- How can landscape genetics be extended to species associated with habitat edges?
Some other recent or current projects include:
- Genetic diversity and fitness in butterfly populations occupying naturally fragmented bog habitats
- Determining patterns of dispersal and host plant use in an agricultural pest, the Western cherry fruit-fly (in collaboration with Dr. Howard Thistlewood, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada)
- Conservation genetics of threatened butterflies of the South Okanagan/Similkameen (in collaboration with Dr. Sylvie Desjardins, UBC Okanagan)
- Tracking dispersal in real time using molecular markers, and understanding the effects of bottlenecks on genetic diversity in a spatially structured network of populations (in collaboration with Dr. Steve Matter, University of Cincinnati and Dr. Jens Roland, University of Alberta)
|Lindsay sampling Mormon metalmarks in BC [photos: S.Desjardins]|
This page was last updated on
June 2, 2011
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