Dr. John Niedzwiecki, professor of biology at Belmont, gave a talk to the Nashville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society held at the Radnor Lake State Natural Area Visitor’s Center on June 16. Niedzwiecki presented his program “Using Comparative Landscape Genetics to Quantify Interisland Gene Flow in Darwin’s Finches.”
Niedzwiecki recently worked on the migration of Darwin’s finches between islands in the Galapagos, investigating connections with ecology and the evolutionary consequences of migration. One assumption persistent over the last 100 years is that speciation occurred, with birds effectively isolated on different islands, allopathic speciation. His team was interested if speciation may have occurred despite persistent gene flow between islands. Niedzwiecki presented his data and described a collecting trip to get a data set to test intra-island gene flow.