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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

  • Jessica A Rick
Award Date:07/01/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 138,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 138,000
  • FY 2021=$138,000
Start Date:03/01/2022
End Date:02/29/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology FY 2021: Investigating evolutionary mechanisms that facilitate local adaptation via inversions in the Atlantic silverside
Federal Award ID Number:2109825
Program:Biology Postdoctoral Research
Program Officer:
  • John Barthell
  • (703) 292-2618

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Rick, Jessica A
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

This action funds an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology for FY 2021, Integrative Research Investigating the Rules of Life Governing Interactions Between Genomes, Environment and Phenotypes. The fellowship supports research and training of the Fellow that will contribute to the area of Rules of Life in innovative ways. Natural environments are often heterogeneous, with strong spatial variation in conditions within a species’ range. Populations within a species gain an advantage by adapting to these differing environments, and such local adaptation can be facilitated by structural variation within an organism’s genome. The Fellow will investigate how structural genomic variation allows populations to adapt to their environments, as well as how these types of variation enable population divergence and speciation. This research is important to understanding the mechanisms involved in the origin and maintenance of biodiversity, and how species may adapt to changing climatic conditions. Through this research, the Fellow will also broaden participation in STEM through mentoring undergraduate students in independent research projects, advocating for open science and reproducible research practices, and training early-career students in open science principles and tools. This research will integrate data from common garden experiments, genomic analyses, and evolutionary modeling to investigate how structural genomic variation—specifically, inversions—facilitate local adaptation in wild populations. It will use the large inversion regions associated with locally adapted phenotypes in the Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) as a model system. Key outcomes of this project will include: (1) identifying regions within inversions associated with local adaptation phenotypes using a common garden framework; (2) a population-wide selection scan to determine whether differentiation is greatest at inversion breakpoints or at candidate loci within inversions; and (3) simulations to quantify the conditions within which recombination suppression within inversions is a viable evolutionary mechanism for maintaining local adaptation. To achieve these outcomes, Atlantic silversides will be collected and raised in a common garden experiment, and phenotypic and whole genome data from these individuals will be collected for analyses. The Fellow will additionally facilitate two workshops on the topic of reproducible research, with a focus on bioinformatic workflows, targeted at upper division undergraduate and early career graduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in STEM fields. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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