With the PEARL project, I will investigate the role of non-genetic inheritance in the response of birds to polluted environments. Hosted at the University of Jyväskylä and supervised by Dr. Suvi Ruuskanen, a prominent figure in the field of environmental physiology, this project will be the first to shed light on paternally transmitted effects of pollution in avian models. Its originality resides in an integrative approach to the effects of heavy metal pollution, combining life history studies, physiology and epigenetics applied to an experimental poultry model and to wild passerines. The combination of an experimental approach and a fieldwork study will allow to 1) gauge the extent to which heavy metals can affect morphological and molecular traits in paternal sperm and their transmission to offspring, and 2) validate sperm molecular traits as biomarkers of heavy metal exposure. Aligned with one of the key strategic orientations for greater impact of Horizon Europe to preserve European biodiversity, PEARL aims to identify novel biomarkers of pollution exposure, thus bringing crucial knowledge for future research and monitoring of the impacts of heavy metal pollution on ecosystem health and for bird conservation. The project will be key in advancing my career by enabling a two-way transfer of knowledge and skills with the Host institution through a carefully crafted training plan, and a strong emphasis on dissemination and communication with a broad panel of actors (academics, conservation managers, non-scientific public).
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme