Thomas White (Cornell University; Canterbury Christ Church University) | May 30, 2014 | 14h30 | CIBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão


Range expansions are extremely common, but have only recently begun to attract attention in terms of their genetic consequences. As populations expand, demes at the wave front experience strong genetic drift, which is expected to reduce genetic diversity, and potentially allele surfing, where alleles may become fixed over a wide geographic area, even if their effects are deleterious. Simulation models show that range expansions can generate very strong selective gradients on dispersal, reproduction, competition and immunity. To investigate the effects of range expansion on genetic diversity and adaptation, we studied the population genomics of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) in Ireland, using Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS).



Thomas White did his Biology degree, MRes in Bioinformatics, and PhD with Jeremy Searle at the University of York in the UK, before moving to Durham University for his first Post-doc. Tom was then awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to study at both Cornell University in the USA and the University of Bern in Switzerland. His main interest is in evolutionary population genetics, with a particular focus on how populations are able to survive and adapt to new environments despite being small or having passed through severe bottlenecks. During his PhD, Tom studied the ecology, evolution and genetics of common shrews (Sorex araneus) on Scottish islands. During his Marie Curie Fellowship, he used next-generation sequencing to shed light on the selective and demographic history of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), in Ireland. Tom is also interested in studying hybrid zones for the light they can shed on the interaction of selection, dispersal and linkage, and the speciation process. He is currently involved in a number of projects studying hybrid zones in a variety of taxa.



[Group Leader: Paulo Célio Alves, Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Management]


Image credits: Thomas White