Western University BiologyWestern Science

Beth MacDougall-Shackleton, PhD

Behavioural ecology and population genetics of songbirds


Beth Macdougall-Shackleton Position:
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Associate Professor
Biological & Geological Sciences 3046
Biological & Geological Sciences 3059
(519) 661-2111 x 81206
519 661-3935
emacdoug@uwo.ca
http://www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/macdougallshackleton/

Research in this lab deals with the interplay between mating behaviour (particularly as regards song) and population genetic structure in songbirds. Because most birds learn to sing during early life, and song varies geographically, the songs males sing convey information as to their place of origin. My research addresses whether females use this information to select mates, and if so, whether song functions as a cue for assortative mating (e.g. to maintain local adaptations) or disassortative mating (e.g. to avoid inbreeding and/or to maximize resistance to parasites and disease in their offspring). By combining modern molecular genetic techniques with extensive field ecological study, this research contributes to basic knowledge about how learned traits may shape mate choice and population genetic structure. Such knowledge is also fundamental to the conservation and management of songbird populations.

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