Associate Professor of Biology
Evolution in the Anthropocene: New York City Wildlife as a Case Study
February 9th, 2015
Academic Building A G008, 5:05 PM
Cosponsored with the Biology Department
Over 50% of the human population now lives in cities, and urbanization is one of the most important drivers of land transformation around the world. Increasingly, humans are also a selective force driving rapid evolutionary change in other species. This presentation will describe ongoing efforts to develop wildlife in New York City as model systems to study the evolutionary implications of urbanization. These studies integrate complementary field and laboratory approaches from landscape ecology, urban ecology, and population genomics. We employ landscape genomics to investigate the influence of urbanization on gene flow and genetic differentiation in multiple taxa (white-footed mice, Norway rats, stream salamanders), population genomics to identify candidate genes under selection in NYC (white-footed mice, rats), and long-term live-trapping and camera-trapping to examine urban population ecology (small mammals, coyotes).
Jason Munshi-South first became interested in urban ecology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, where he studied the foraging and flocking behavior of non-native monk parakeets. He then went on to pursue questions surrounding the effects of major landscape change on the behavior and population genetics of tropical wildlife. His dissertation work at the University of Maryland examined aspects of treeshrew mating systems in primary and logged forests in Borneo. During a one-year postdoc at the Smithsonian, he studied movements, stress hormones, and group composition of African forest elephants living around oil fields in Gabon, central Africa. When he accepted a position as an assistant professor at CUNY in 2007, he began developing side projects examining the population genetics of local animals in NYC parks. These projects, designed to involve undergraduates, soon took over most of his research program. In Fall 2013, he moved to the Louis Calder Center, Fordham’s biological field station. The Calder Center is one of the few field stations in proximity to a major urban center, and is dedicated to urban and suburban ecology.
Reading will be posted to the EvoS blackboard group. Anyone with a Binghamton University email address can request to be added to the blackboard group by emailing EvoS[at]binghamton[dot]edu.
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