Long distance migratory birds often experience very different pathogen faunas at their wintering, stop-over and breeding sites and their immune defence is therefore challenged in different ways different times of the year. More resident birds will most likely experience a pathogen fauna that vary less over the season.
My main interest is to investigate associations between the genes (genotype) in the genome and the individuals that we observe (phenotype) in avian study populations. Such associations are difficult to find and therefore I study genes that are subject to balancing selection. My main focus has so far been MHC genes (Major Histocompatibility Complex) in songbirds. The MHC genes are of importance in the immune defence and they are the most variable genes known in vertebrates. This high genetic variation is most likely maintained by selection from infectious pathogens.
I study natural selection on the genetic level in resident house sparrows Passer domesticus and in long distance migratory great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus, both selection that occurs at present (by for example avian malaria infections at the breeding and wintering sites) and in the past (through sequence analyses). We know that certain MHC genes in great reed warblers are associated with better survival of an avian malaria infection (Plasmodium ashfordi) that is transmitted at their wintering site.
(fetched from Lund University's publications database)
- MHC-I provides both quantitative resistance and susceptibility to blood parasites in blue tits in the wild
- Sex differences in immune responses : Hormonal effects, antagonistic selection, and evolutionary consequences
- Testing genotyping strategies for ultra-deep sequencing of a co-amplifying gene family : MHC class I in a passerine bird
- The Evolution of Highly Variable Immunity Genes Across a Passerine Bird Radiation
- Characteristics of MHC Class I Genes in House Sparrows Passer domesticus as Revealed by Long cDNA Transcripts and Amplicon Sequencing.
- MHC class II B diversity in blue tits: a preliminary study
- MHC-I Affects Infection Intensity but Not Infection Status with a Frequent Avian Malaria Parasite in Blue Tits
- Polymorphisms at the innate immune receptor TLR2 are associated with Borrelia infection in a wild rodent population
- Contrasting patterns of diversity and population differentiation at the innate immunity gene toll-like receptor 2 (tlr2) in two sympatric rodent species.
- Major histocompatibility complex class II compatibility, but not class I, predicts mate choice in a bird with highly developed olfaction.
- Primary peak and chronic malaria infection levels are correlated in experimentally infected great reed warblers.
- Quantitative disease resistance: to better understand parasite-mediated selection on major histocompatibility complex.
- Broad-scale latitudinal patterns of genetic diversity among native European and introduced house sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations.
- Characterization of MHC class I and II genes in a subantarctic seabird, the blue petrel, Halobaena caerulea (Procellariiformes)
- Characterization of MHC-I in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) reveals low levels of genetic diversity and trans-population evolution across European populations
- Diversity, Loss, and Gain of Malaria Parasites in a Globally Invasive Bird.
- Signatures of selection acting on the innate immunity gene Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) during the evolutionary history of rodents.
- No evidence for inbreeding avoidance in a great reed warbler population
- Passerine MHC: genetic variation and disease resistance in the wild
- Temporal dynamics and diversity of avian malaria parasites in a single host species
- The Mhc class II of the Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) consists of low numbers of B and Y genes with variable diversity and expression
- Between-year variation of MHC allele frequencies in great reed warblers: selection or drift?
- Diversity of Mhc class I and IIB genes in house sparrows (Passer domesticus)
- Does linkage disequilibrium generate heterozygosity-fitness correlations in great reed warblers?
- MHC class I typing in a songbird with numerous loci and high polymorphism using motif-specific PCR and DGGE
- No evidence of an MHC-based female mating preference in great reed warblers
- Observation of a ZZW female in a natural population: implications for avian sex determination
- Terminal investment induced by immune challenge and fitness traits associated with major histocompatibility complex in the house sparrow
- Brood sex ratios, female harem status and resources for nestling provisioning in the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
- Host specificity in avian blood parasites: a study of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus mitochondrial DNA amplified from birds
- Mhc diversity in two passerine birds: no evidence far a minimal essential Mhc