What are the decisions that animals make during their development that alters their allocation of resources into flight vs. fecundity vs. attractiveness? What are the genetic variants that help animals adaptation to their complex habitats? Using many different ‘omic tools, we are working to answer these question for a range of adaptive phenotypes in the butterfly Pieris napi: diapause, wing patterning, polyphenism and immunity. We address potential life history differences and the genetics of cryptic, sympatric brown trout populations that occur in tiny freshwater lakes in mountain areas.

 

Genetics and life history dynamics of cryptic, sympatric salmonid populations

Genetically distinct, sympatric populations have been reported in several salmonid species and they are typically detected based on morphological or behavioural differences. In a few, rare cases sympatric populations have also been detected without obvious phenotypical differences, based on genetic data alone (i.e., cryptic populations). We work to understand the evolutionary mechanisms behind such sympatric populations including whether life history divergence occurs or whether, in fact, cryptic sympatric populations can exist in the absence of such divergence. We also address statistical power issues related to the detection of sympatric populations.

Principal Investigators: Linda Laikre, Nils Ryman
Contributing Researchers: Anastasia Andersson
Collaborators: Per Erik Jorde

 

Effective population size of metapopulations

The genetically effective population size (Ne) is the most widely used parameter for quantifying and monitoring rates of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation through drift. The concept was developed for single, isolated populations; Ne is defined as the size of an ideal population without the evolutionary forces of mutation, selection or migration that exhibits the same expected rate of genetic drift or inbreeding per generation as the actual, real life population of interest. We develop methods for modelling and understanding the dynamics of Ne in substructured populations (metapopulations), apply these to empirical cases and formulate conservation recommendations. We also address questions associated with estimating Ne from empirical data.

Principal Investigators: Linda Laikre, Nils Ryman
Contributing Researchers: Sara Kurland
Collaborators: Ola Hössjer