Charlotte Bartleet-Cross

charlotte-bartleet-crossProject:Conservation genomics of the Seychelles warbler
I am a PhD student at the University of Sheffield looking at the effects of inbreeding depression on the Seychelles warbler. Studying inbreeding is of great importance, as it can have a large influence on the evolution of plant and animal populations and can increase the risk of extinction in species of conservation concern. Inbreeding levels should generally be low in the wild, but due to the severe bottleneck that the Seychelles warbler has undergone, now over 5% of offspring have parents that are first-order relatives (e.g. father-daughter). Inbreeding can have negative consequences on individual fitness, such as causing a reduction in survival or reproductive success, which is also known as inbreeding depression. In addition, inbreeding reduces genetic variation which can be disastrous for at risk populations.
I hope to focus on disentangling the effects of inbreeding on the Seychelles warbler and look at the effect on fitness of individuals and populations. To investigate how inbreeding affects the Seychelles warbler, I will be collecting field data, sequencing the genome and analysing the results in the lab. This data will then be used in models to predict the number of individuals required to maintain the current genetic variation, and will assist in determining the future management plans of this species.

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