Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics: Virtual Issue

Post provided by Michael Morrissey

©Dr. Jane Ogilvie, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Evolutionary quantitative genetics provides formal theoretical frameworks for quantitatively linking natural selection, genetic variation, and the rate and direction of adaptive evolution. This strong theoretical foundation has been key to guiding empirical work for a long time. For example, rather than generally understanding selection to be merely an association of traits and fitness in some general way, theory tells us that specific quantities, such as the change in mean phenotype within generations (the selection differential; Lush 1937), or the partial regressions of relative fitness on traits (direct selection gradients; Lande 1979, Lande and Arnold 1983) will relate to genetic variation and evolution in specific, informative ways.

These specific examples highlight the importance of the theoretical foundation of evolutionary quantitative genetics for informing the study of natural selection. However, this foundation also supports the study other critical (quantification of genetic variation and evolution) and complimentary (e.g., interpretation when environments, change, the role of plasticity and genetic variation in plasticity) aspects of understanding the nuts and bolts of evolutionary change. Continue reading

New Associate Editor: Michael Morrissey

Today, we are pleased to be welcoming a new member of the Methods in Ecology and Evolution Associate Editor Board. Michael Morrissey joins us from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and you can find out a little more about him below.

Michael Morrissey

“I am an evolutionary quantitative geneticist. I am interested in the selection, genetics, and evolutionary trajectories of traits in natural populations. I typically work at the interface of statistics, evolutionary theory, and empirical problems.”

Michael has been an active reviewer for Methods for the past few years and has provided excellent comments and recommendations on a number of papers. He also had an article – ‘In search of the best methods for multivariate selection analysis‘ – published in the journal in 2014 (which will become freely available in October this year).
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Recent content and new video

Lots of exciting content has recently gone online.

Firstly, two interesting new applications (as always free): simapse, simulation maps for ecological niche modelling in Python and nadiv, an R package for estimating non-additive genetic variances in animal models.

Also, two research articles. In the first, Julien Beguin and colleagues introduce an alternative procedure for fitting Bayesian hierarchical spatial models (BHSM) with quite general spatial covariance structures. This procedure uses integrated nested Laplace approximations (INLA) as an alternative to MCMC. In the second, Martin Lavoie, Jen Owens and Dave Risk present a new method for real-time monitoring of soil CO2 efflux.This is attractive because of its low cost and low power consumption compared to traditional methods.

Lastly, Dan Mennill and co-authors show us an affordable, portable, wireless microphone array for spatial monitoring of animal ecology and behaviour. They accompany their article with a nice short video: