We just got the official word of some new funding from NSF! The newly funded work is a collaborative grant with Valdimir Pravosudov at the University of Nevada Reno. We'll examine the genetic basis of spatial cognition in food-caching mountain chickadees and link genetic variation to natural selection using a long-term dataset from the Sierra Nevada. Vladimir's lab has come up with an amazing way to measure spatial cognition in wild free-living birds, which is under strong natural selection. We will also measure spatial cognition in mountain chickadees at the CU Boulder Mountain Research Station in the Colorado Rocky Mountains using smart feeder arrays and look at whether birds that perform well on the spatial cognition tests in the Rocky Mountains have similar or different genetic variation to those in the Sierra Nevada.
Stay tuned for exciting results from this 5-year grant!