ANR Suscept-Ext

Understanding susceptibility to extinction using historical museum specimens as a genetic time series

(c) B. Warren

Evolutionary history is expected to play a major role in determining which species decline in population size to extinction in response to environmental change, but the processes by which this comes about are poorly understood. Although population genetic studies provide much promise to understand the microevolutionary processes behind macroevolutionary patterns of extinction risk, inferences can be limited by our confidence in the timescales inferred, and by the scale of such studies, which frequently include only one lineage. As a key-player in project ANR Suscept-Ext, the postdoc will tackle both of these issues, applying ancient DNA methods to museum (historical & subfossil) samples to obtain a genome-wide time series for multiple Mascarene island bird lineages that differ in abundance and other biological traits. Islands in the Mascarene archipelago (Mauritius & Réunion), Indian Ocean, are unusual among sizable and biologically diverse landmasses worldwide, in that they had no human population until European arrival 400 years ago. Therefore, there exist museum samples and subfossils spanning the full duration of anthropogenic environmental change, allowing a real-time assessment of genetic response to environmental changes of known timing and across multiple species following first human presence.

Opening April 2021.

Main coordinator : B Warren, MNHN, Paris