UofG wins NERC funding

Issued: Tue, 26 Apr 2016 11:06:00 BST

A number of University of Glasgow researchers have been successful in the latest round of funding from the Natural Environment Research Council.

Dr Kevin Parsons, Lecturer, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health, and Comparative Medicine, has a project funded for the next four years and valued at £1.33 million: “The predictability and limits of evolution in response to increased temperature: insights from a natural 'experiment'”

Kevin is Principal Investigator in collaboration with Jan Lindstrom, Shaun Killen, and Neil Metcalfe

The project is part of NERC’s Highlight Topic scheme and addresses the pressing question of how organisms will adapt to increases in temperature. To date most studies of this type have examined short term responses to increased temperature within a generation.  However, this project will take advantage of a unique situation in Iceland where several populations of fish (the three-spined stickleback) live within geothermally heated water bodies. By comparing these populations to nearby populations living at ambient temperature this project will take advantage of a long-running ‘natural experiment’ where evolution to a warmer environment has occurred over thousands of generations. By applying approaches from evolutionary developmental biology, physiology, and genomics this integrative project will aim to determine the genetic and epigenetic changes that underlie adaptations to increased temperatures.

Kevin told Campus e-News: “Evolution can be viewed as a process that solves problems, and so has great potential for application. This problem-solving nature of evolution is already being recognized for other problems such as crop resistance, or even human disorders that mirror adaptations we see in natural populations.  In this case we have a situation that emulates predicted increases in temperature from anthropogenic climate change that we can use to pre-emptively inform us about what might happen to biodiversity over the next century”

Other awards have gone to:

Principal Investigator: Dr Claire Miller, University of Glasgow, School of Mathematics & Statistics. Co-Investigator: Professor M Scott, University of Glasgow, School of Mathematics & Statistics: "Hydroscape:connectivity x stressor interactions in freshwater habitats". Their project, with £2.9 million in funding, runs from November 2015 to December 2019 and involves the following partners, with Dr Nigel Wilby from University of Stirling as the project lead: University of Stirling

  • Natural History Museum
  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • University College London
  • Lancaster University
  • University of Glasgow
  • British Trust for Ornithology

Professor Susan Waldron, School of Geographical & Earth Sciences is Co-Investigator with colleagues from Aberdeen University, including Principal Investigator: Dr Y Teh and Professor J Smith, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences: "The Global Methane Budget" - Professor Euan Nisbet, Royal Hollaway, University of London. The award valued at £3.8 million.


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