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Local and clinal differences in developmental stability in European butterfly populations as a tool in conservation biology

Objective



Research objectives and content Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is a measurement of random deviations in bilateral traits where the ideal state is perfect symmetry. Deviations from perfect symmetry may be caused by genetic (e.g. inbreeding and hybridisation) and/or environmental (e.g. pH or temperature extremes, food shortage) stress. In this project I intend to study if changes in butterfly FA are connected to annual, local and clinal differences in common and rare butterfly populations. A possible application of this method is to obtain information of the status of threatened butterfly populations before their size has commenced to decrease severely. FAbased conservation may allow the implementation of rapid protection procedures, which may be economically possible in all European Union countries. The nearby surrounding of Uppsala with easy access to south and north provides good possibilities to obtain samples. The Uppsala University also provides excellent facilities and scientific atmosphere to guarantee the successful completion of my work. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact) Studying fluctuating asymmetry in a conservation biology context is a new approach and may provide useful information input for conservation programs. By studying FA more profoundly, I will inevitably increase my knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms that may play important roles when evaluating the causes of population decreases. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22) No

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Uppsala University
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