NYU's 2017 Darwin Lecture

Dr. Jason Munshi-South, Biological Field Station, Fordham

Friday, March 10th, 4:00pm

12 Waverly Place, CGSB Auditorium

Join us for our Annual Darwin Lecture by a biology professor specializing in rat genetics, A Tale of Two Rodents: Contemporary Evolution in NYC and Beyond.

To be introduced by NYU's Dean for Science, Dr. Michael Purugganan, this talk is free and open to the public. Talk followed by reception.

Host: Dr. Dave Fitch

(click link for more info)


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NYU Press Release can be seen here -

For more information about this speaker's research see http://nycevolution.org


A Tale of Two Rodents:

Contemporary Evolution in New York City and Beyond

     Over 50% of the human population now live in cities, and urban areas are growing dramatically around the world. Although often thought of as biologically unimportant, cities contain unique communities of native and non-native species, including pests with long histories of association with humans. Evolutionary biologists recently documented several cases of evolution of these species in response to urbanization, and it's increasingly apparent that cities may be hotspots of rapid evolution.
     This talk reviews these cases and the big evolutionary questions for the growing Urban Evolutionary Biology field, using NYC's rodents as case studies. A unique assemblage of native and nonnative rodents inhabit New York City, which differs in their occupancy of "green" and "gray" infrastructure. They also vary in their ability to disperse through urban landscapes, which can have profound implications for genetic drift, migration, and selection in urban populations.
     For the past 8 years the Munshi-South lab has been using population genomic approaches to investigate the evolutionary biology of white-footed mouse populations in and around New York City. This talk reviews our work on loss of genome-wide variation, evolutionary potential, historical demography, and natural selection. Unlike white-footed mice that are isolated in urban forests, NYC rats avoid forest fragments but occupy much of the remaining urban habitat. The lab has recently begun investigating the population genomics of rats in NYC and around the world to understand how they use urban space, how they have adapted to new urban conditions, and how they are related to rat populations around the world.


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