“Evolutionary Responses to Human-Induced Environmental Change: Insights from a Recent Urban Colonist”

Human population growth is proceeding exponentially, and as a result, our species is using resources and reshaping the environment at an unprecedented rate. These environmental perturbations have provided biologists with an opportunity to study evolutionary change and adaptation in landscapes that are increasingly dominated by human-induced changes. Although most of the outcomes for non-humans have been negative, some species, such as the Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), have actually benefited from shifting to a novel urban environment that differs greatly from their ancestral habitat. In this talk, I will discuss how juncos were able to transition to an urban environment, and how that environment subsequently shaped the junco’s biology.

Dustin Reichard is an Assistant Professor of Zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University.