Spotted and Barred Owl Research
Many species’ ranges are changing dramatically in response to global climate change and human alterations to habitat. Such range changes can bring closely related, allopatric taxa into secondary contact where they hybridize. This provides unique opportunities to study fundamental evolutionary processes in action, including speciation, adaptive hybridization, and the compatibility of various genomic elements and architectures.
As a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher, I investigated the secondary contact and hybridization of Strix owls in the western United States (U.S.). The Barred Owl (Strix varia) is an invasive species from the eastern U.S. that has become broadly sympatric with the resident Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) along the Pacific coast in the last 50 years. This system is ideal for investigating speciation processes because it is a natural, dynamic, and ongoing invasion with secondary contact that can be studied across space and time.
Links to Articles Related to Research
Spotted Owl Genome
- Academy scientists assemble genome of threatened northern spotted owl in race to understand hybrids in the West. California Academy of Sciences.
- Genetic mapping of Northern Spotted Owls. Golden Gate Audubon Society.
- Team assembles genome of threatened northern spotted owl. Phys.org.
- Genome of threatened northern spotted owl assembed. Science Daily.
- California Academy Of Sciences Assembles Genome Of Threatened Northern Spotted Owl. Scienmag.
Western Barred Owls
- Barred Owl Study Update. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.