Avian Population Studies in the Genomic Era



Long-term studies on birds have played a pivotal role in addressing important questions in evolutionary biology, and avian biologists were quick at adopting new genetic tools. The integration of genetic work on birds has revolutionised the way we think about avian mating systems, for example. During the last decade, we have seen a tremendous decline in the cost of sequencing, making it possible to genotype or sequence hundreds or even thousands of individuals. These tools are offering an exciting new array of questions to be asked from long-term longitudinal studies on birds. We review here some of the genetic resources currently available to researchers studying avian population samples, some statistical approaches to analyse population-level genomic data and future questions that long-term studies on birds can provide insights into. It is clear that genomic approaches on long-term studies on birds have played, and will continue to play, an important role for addressing fundamental evolutionary questions.


Quantitative genetics Microevolution GWAS Epigenetics Heritability Longitudinal studies Polygenic Chromosome partitioning DNA methylation SNP 



We are grateful to Robert Kraus for the invitation to contribute to this book and for his encouragement during the process. We would also like to thank Robert Kraus and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions that improved the manuscript. A.H. acknowledges support from the Norwegian Research Council grants 239974 and 223257; A.Q. acknowledges the Swedish Research Council and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation; and SEM acknowledges support from the Swedish Research Council (2017-00499).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and GeneticsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research ProgrammeUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Centre for Biodiversity DynamicsNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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