A&S Biol Sci - 0006
Evolutionary and population genetics
Advisor: Dr. Petren
The Galapagos Islands, like many other island chains, are prone to environmental problems due to human disturbance. Human settlement and tourism have increased the prevalence of invasive species and exotic diseases on the islands. Terrestrial bird populations are particularly at risk due to introduced avian malaria, pox viruses and parasites. Cross-temporal comparisons of genetic profiles generated from museum specimens and modern populations can reveal how populations are changing through time. My work examines size changes in warbler finch populations over the past 100 years. Preliminary data suggest that only a few warbler finch populations are in decline, and that these declines are due more to natural environmental changes than human impacts.