Dr Alicia Grealy ‘Eggshell Collection Genomics: Approaches and Applications to the Study of Australian Birds’

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Thursday, 20 May 2021 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

From her experience as a post-doctoral fellow at ANU, Alicia will talk about developing techniques that offer opportunities to examine how diversity has changed across time. She found that the study of museum eggshells is an untapped resource of genomic information for thousands of avian species including rare and extinct taxa.

Abstract   Museum specimens offer one of the only opportunities to examine how diversity has changed across time and museum eggshells in particular are an untapped resource of genomic information for thousands of avian species, including rare and extinct taxa. Over the past few years we have been developing techniques to non-destructively retrieve both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from museum eggshell specimens. Here, I will detail how we are going about this, and explain how these new methods can be applied to help solve previously intractable biological questions, from the identification of unknown specimens to the reconstruction of avian evolutionary history.

Biography  Until recently, Alicia Grealy was a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian National University with an interest in using DNA extracted from ancient and degraded samples to help answer evolutionary questions, particularly related to the origins of biodiversity. She completed her undergraduate and honours degree in science at the University of Queensland, and received a PhD from Curtin University (Perth) in 2017 where she was developing techniques to extract DNA from fossil bone and avian eggshell. At ANU, her project used museum avian eggshell to explore the role co-evolution plays in driving genetic divergence within Australian cuckoos. She is currently a research projects officer at the Australian National Herbarium developing methods for high-throughput collection genomics.

This talk will be held in the ANBG Theatrette.

Bookings are essential because of the COVID-19 guidelines related to the Thursday Talks and limited seating (tickets are free). Bookings will open on the Friday before the talk; they will close on the following Wednesday night or when seating limits are reached.

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