Abstracts (first author)
The genetic architecture of a reproductive trait in a wild bird populationPDF
The timing of egg-laying (lay date) in wild birds is a key determinant of overall reproductive success, with some species timing their breeding events to coincide with peaks in the abundances of key prey species. Mistimed breeding events can result in trophic mismatches and subsequently lower chick survival and fledging success. A phenotypic shift to earlier laying has been observed in a population of great tits (Parus major) in response to the earlier emergence of their winter moth larvae prey, itself the result of climate warming. Lay date has been found to have a small but significant heritable component. This study combines several genetic analysis tools, including QTL mapping and Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) techniques, to describe the genetic architecture of lay date. Variation in this trait appears to have a polygenic basis.