In a world with rapid and wide-spread environmental changes, knowledge about how organisms can cope with these changes will be instrumental in making our society more sustainable.
My daily detective work at the NIOO involves investigating the winter moth's successful adaptation to climate change from different perspectives. In just 10 years, the seasonal timing of winter moth egg hatching relative to their food source improved. This shift involved genetic changes in how egg development responds to temperature during winter.
Using fluorescence imaging, gene expression profiling (RNAseq), whole-genome sequencing, and population modelling, I explore the what, when, and how of the winter moth's genetic adaptation to climate change.
How does winter moth egg development respond to temperature? What genes are involved in this response? What regions of the genome changed in response to selection from climate change? When did these changes take place?
By mastering lab techniques, bioinformatics, and statistics, and being the occasional control freak, I aim to answer these questions in my PhD project.