LECTURE MATERIAL 1 (bio3120LectureNatSelectionF2001)
LECTURE MATERIAL 2 (bio3120LectureHOMHOXGenF2001)
Genetic variation in natural populations)
LECTURE MATERIAL 4 (Population Genetics)
Announcements )
Biology 3120 Ecology and Evolution Evolutionary Genetics)
Genetic variation in natural populations )

Evolutionary Genetics and Avian Biology. The major research emphasis in this laboratory is on molecular approaches to questions in evolutionary biology, with particular emphasis on the processes and patterns of speciation. At present our greatest effort is on sequencing both mitochondrial and nuclear encoded genes for the purpose of resolving avian phylogenies. The phylogenies provide a comparative framework for studying the evolution of ecological, anatomical, behavioral and other traits over the course of evolutionary history. In the woodpeckers, for example, there are numerous examples of convergent or parallel evolution of plumage traits and ecological specializations that would only be apparent in context of a well resolved phylogeny. We are also interested in a number of questions related to phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences; these include the relationship between gene phylogenies and species phylogenies, the molecular clock and various aspects of nucleotide substitution. A second major interest is hybrid zones. These are narrow belts of hybridization between highly differentiated populations which appear to be good species in all respects except that they hybridize. We have extensively studied the hybrid zone between Red- and Yellow-shafted Flickers as a model system. The hybrid zone is ancient, dating to the end of the Wisconsin glacial advance, and appears to be a stable feature of the biogeography of the flickers that is maintained by a balance between gene flow and natural selection. In the next few years we will do considerable field work and collecting in South America, that is related to our ongoing studies of the molecular phylogenetics of woodpeckers.


Selected Publications

1. Moore, W.S., J.H. Graham and J.T. Price (1991). Mitochondrial DNA variation in the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus, Aves). Mol. Biol. Evol. 8(3):327-344.

2. Moore, W.S. and J.T. Price (1993). The nature of selection in the Northern Flicker Hybrid zone and its implications for speciation theory. In Hybrid zones and the evolutionary process. Harrison, R.G. (ed.), Oxford University Press, 196-225.

3. Moore, W.S. (1995). The Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). In The Birds of North America. A. Poole and F. Gill, (eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washing, D.C., The American Ornithologists' Union.

4. Moore, W.S. (l995). Inferring phylogenies from mtDNA variation: Mitochondrial-gene trees versus nuclear-gene trees. Evolution 49:718-726.

5. Moore, W.S. and V.R. Defilippis (1997). The window of taxonomic resolution for avian phylogenies based on mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequences. In Avian molecular evolution and sytematics (ed. D.P. Mindell), pp. 83-119. Academic Press.