Pleiotropy and evolution

Pleiotropy and evolution

I am working toward understanding how traits evolve under diverse selective pressures, using bird wings as my study system.

The morphological systems of organisms often serve multiple functions. How multifunctionality influences the evolution of morphology is an open question in biology. I have been working to test whether multifunctionality in the wings of volant diving birds has constrained or facilitated the diversification of wing shape and size.

To do so, I characterized the wings of 2,326 wings from 955 species using geometric morphometrics – the largest dataset of avian wing shapes or sizes assembled to date. As part of my data collection, I was invited to visit the Burke Museum, which houses the largest collection of spread bird wings in the world.

My photography setup My photography setup. Thank you, Megan, for letting me use your DSLR!

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