Posted by: Dan | February 24, 2007

Evolution of Avian Migration


As I’ve noted, the February issue of Bioscience has a series of articles on animal migration, and I thought to revisit one of the articles now that I have a little spare time.

In The Genetics and Evolution of Avian Migration, by Francisco Pulido, the topics of variability within species, as well as selective mechanisms are discussed at length, from a population genetics perspective. As a biologist I can easily follow along with the genetics, but as a mere amateur birdwatcher I feel hesitant to comment much on the natural history of the “migration syndrome,” so I’ll merely urge readers to take a look at Pulido’s review.

To be sure, the rest of the articles help to put Pulido’s review into perspective as well. But for the immediate paper, what can the genetics of migration tell us? First, knowledge, however fundamental and unapplied, leads to deeper appreciation. But second, and more importantly, understanding the mechanisms of population change will help us to better manage wildlife, with which we must share the world.

But above all, I’m simply amazed at some of the things that we’re learning about the natural world.



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