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SpeciationBehaviour SIGNED

The genetic and neural basis of reproductive isolation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "SpeciationBehaviour" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 80539

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 1˙499˙540 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙540 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-01-01   to  2024-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Speciation is a fundamental evolutionary process, which relies on the accumulation of reproductive barriers. These barriers often act before mating, and many taxa remain separate not because they fail to produce viable offspring, but because they ‘choose’ not to mate in the first place. Although the significance of behavioural barriers has long been recognized, an integrated understanding remains elusive: How is behavioural isolation mediated through changes in the sensory systems? Are these changes driven by selection? And what is the genetic and developmental basis of behavioural divergence in natural populations?

My research will address these questions to understand how behavioural barriers are generated, both during development and across evolutionary time. This project will be novel in uniting genomic and neurosensory data, with ecological and behavioural studies across a single radiation. Heliconius butterflies offer an excellent opportunity to achieve this as they are a group of closely related species with well-characterised ecologies, high-quality genomic resources, and are emerging as a model of evolutionary neurobiology.

These attributes will allow me to address the enduring problem of how natural selection and genetics interact to drive divergence in behavioural preferences. I will determine how components of behavioural isolation vary with ecology, both within and between species; and then explicitly test whether changes in sensory perception and processing in the brain are driven by selection imposed by the external environment. Genetic mapping will allow me to test for a link between changes in the sensory systems and mate choice. By combining these data with expression and functional analyses I will identify genes strongly implicated in the divergence of behavioural preferences. This will lead to novel insights into the developmental and neurological bases of behavioural isolation, a process fundamental to biodiversity.

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The information about "SPECIATIONBEHAVIOUR" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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