Although the field of quantitative genetics - the study of the genetic basis of variation in quantitative characteristics such as body size, or reproductive success - is almost 100 years old, its application to the study of evolutionary processes in wild populations has expanded greatly over the last few decades. During this time, the use of 'wild quantitative genetics' has provided insights into a range of important questions in evolutionary ecology, ranging from studies conducting research in well-established fields such as life-history theory, behavioural ecology and sexual selection, to others addressing relatively new issues such as populations' responses to climate change or the process of senescence in natural environments. Across these fields, there is increasing appreciation of the need to quantify the genetic - rather than just the phenotypic - basis and diversity of key traits, the genetic basis of the associations between traits, and the interaction between these genetic effects and the environme
Oxford University Press
April 3, 2014
About the author
Dr Loeske E. B. Kruuk is Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Her research interests are focused on how evolutionary and ecological processes shape biological diversity in wild animal populations. After an undergraduate degree in mathematics, she realized that biology was more interesting and so did a PhD in population genetics at the University of Edinburgh. Her interest in quantitative genetics began during a postdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge, after which she returned to Edinburgh on a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. She has been involved with many long-term studies of wild animal populations, but with a bias towards Scottish ungulates and, more recently, Australian passerines: these have allowed her to investigate a range of issues such as quantitative genetics, the effects of climate change, senescence, phenotypic plasticity, natural and sexual selection, inbreeding depression and maternal effects.