I was admitted as a PhD student in May 2010. My research focuses on hybrid zones between two subspecies of the willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus in Northern Europe. Data provided from ringing recoveries and stable isotopes suggest that the subspecies have distinctly different migratory programs. While southern birds (ssp. trochilus) migrate to wintering areas in Western Africa, northern birds (ssp. acredula) head for wintering areas in Southern Africa. The hybrid zones are presumed to be maintained by selection against hybrids with an intermediate migratory program.
With the use of next-generation transcriptome sequencing, I will develop genetic markers that can be used to map and quantify hybridization within the areas of contact. A long term goal is to identify genes associated with the different migratory programs of the two subspecies. In order to also account for differences due to differential expression of genes, I will combine the next-generation sequence data with a microarray-based expression profiling.
The project is in collaboration with Mats Grahn and Anthony Wright at Södertörn University and Karolinska Institutet.
Lundberg, M., Åkesson, S. and Bensch, S. Identification of a Divergent Chromosome Region in a Non-model Species, the Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus, by a Cross-species use of Genomic Resources. (in review).