October 27, 2023

Mariana Martin Maroto

Project: Bird life in the Anthropocene: understanding convergent adaptation to urbanisation

Location: University of Nottingham



My research focuses on how anthropogenic change influences the evolution of bird species. Urbanisation has significant impacts on global biodiversity, altering the habitats, behaviours, and phenotypes of countless species. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how biodiversity responds to human activities. Adaptation to urban environments has occurred repeatedly in many species and independently across different timescales. My PhD project aims to identify convergence in ecological, morphological, and genetic adaptation in urban environments across multiple bird species using a mixture of available datasets and new data. By analysing the convergent nature of adaptation in these species, we can gain important insight into how biodiversity responds to anthropogenic change.

I completed an Integrated Masters degree (MBiol) at the University of York in 2022, and went on to work at Kew Gardens as part of the Digital Revolution project. My Masters project looked at birdsong evolution and involved assessing avian soundscape features, and further examining traits of birdsong and how these varied latitudinally. This experience highlighted the importance of understanding the mechanisms driving adaptation in these species to aid scientific research and further conservation efforts, something which I will explore further during my PhD.