Showing articles associated with Sonya Clegg

Dr Sonya Clegg is an evolutionary ecologist interested in the processes that generate, maintain and erode biological variation from the level of the gene to the species. She uses a range of approaches, combining empirical data with modelling to describe and understand the mechanisms that can produce divergence. She is particularly interested in how various microevolutionary processes, such as selection and drift, interact, and how particular selective landscapes can produce emergent macroecological patterns.

One of these is the island syndrome – a suite of phenotypic, genetic, and life-history changes that commonly occur in island-dwelling forms. Dr Clegg investigates the island syndrome using birds, including studies that explore individual variation (genetics, morphology, behaviour) within single island bird populations, to global phenotypic patterns across the bird phylogeny. She has focused on the effects of drift in small founded populations, as well as multiple selective pressures that vary systematically from mainland to island environments, including changing biotic interactions such as competition, predation, and disease.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in research related to environmental challenges?

Oxford has a wide range of researchers working on different aspects of environmental change and the challenges ahead. This makes it a very dynamic place to work on the broad topic.

What is the biggest environmental challenge facing the planet right now?

We are past the point where we can think of challenges in isolation from one another. For example climate change and habitat alteration and loss are interacting and resulting in a range of problems from species extinction and biodiversity loss to disease emergence.

Despite the challenges, are you optimistic about our future?  

The pace of action will need to accelerate, but I feel that broad swathes of society recognise the problems and want change.

Sonya Clegg
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