The structuring of avian genomes across time and space

In this presentation Dr. Smith will present an overview of his research program on avian evolution through a series of vignettes on topics that include comparative landscape genomics, convergent evolution, and phylogenetic discordance.

First, he will explore predictors of genetic differentiation in birds that occur in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The genomes of these birds show that both historical and contemporary mechanisms were important in explaining genetic distance across deserts, and that alternative geographic factors operated on different portions of the genome.

The second case study will characterize convergent local adaptation in two woodpecker species that look nearly identical except in body size and have phenotypes that co-vary across their ranges. Dr. Smith will discuss the interplay between genetic drift and selection in structuring the genomes of these sympatric and ecologically similar woodpecker species that co-occur across a complex environmental gradient in North America.

Finally, he will present progress in elucidating the evolutionary history of parrots through recent phylogenomic work, and present a case study of phylogenetic conflict in the long-tailed parrots of Australia. 

Brian will be at ANU after his seminar to meet with students and researchers.

The Slatyer Seminar Room is on the 2nd floor of the RN Robertson Building, up the ramp from the front foyer, above the Little Pickle cafe.