Skip to Main Content

DeWoody Receives Grant to Study Inyo California Towhee Genetics

Professor of genetics Dr. Andrew DeWoody with Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, will be studying the conservation genomics of California Towhees after receiving a research grant from the Bureau of Land Management.

DeWoody’s lab group will perform DNA extractions, sequencing, and data analyses to help inform conservation strategies associated with the management of California towhees, a small perching songbird historically named Pipilo crissalis. This research will evaluate the integrity of the Inyo California Towhee’s gene pool, compared to that of other species of California Towhees.

The Inyo California Towhee was listed under the Endangered Species Act as Threatened with Critical Habitat by the Department of the Interior in 1984 due to habitat degradation and limited overall range size. The Inyo population grew from about 200 to 700 individuals by 2013 due to management efforts. DeWoody’s research will analyze whole-genome sequences to reveal any substantial differences between the Inyo Towhee and the California Towhee, an important data point in determining the need for further conservation efforts.

“Nowadays, genetic or genomic data is really required to help assess conservation priorities,” DeWoody explained. “If populations are genetically unique, biologists need to know that as they try and manage accordingly. Similarly, if populations are merely extensions of a broader gene pool, they need to know that too as it may mean conservation resources are better spent on more critical cases.”

DeWoody will be working in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management’s Mike Westphal to collect samples. All raw and processed data will be archived in a public repository and results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Research is set to begin in 2020 and continue at least through 2021.

Featured Stories

Jonathan Lu tends to a plant he is studying in the Lilly Greenhouses.
Fields Of Discovery: A hunger to research carnivorous plants

This summer, Jonathan Lu researches drought tolerance in carnivorous plants with the Department...

Read More
a robotic arm reaches out to touch a corn plant leaf. you can see the Sheeraz Athar, Jian Jin, and Yu She in the where the arm bends
How robots touch on the future of agriculture

Walking into Purdue’s Mechanisms And Robotic Systems (MARS) Lab feels like falling into a...

Read More
Beca Appelmann stands next to her research poster; Beca holds her dog on a beach; Beca holds a Northern Saw-whet Owl
Meet FNR Outstanding Sophomore Beca Appelmann

Wildlife major Rebeca Appelmann has been selected as FNR’s Outstanding Sophomore for...

Read More
Shopping cart in store
Consumers see food prices as rising more than other goods and services, find ways to adapt

More than 80% of consumers perceive that food prices have increased a little or a lot over the...

Read More
beets-student-farm
Registration is now open for upcoming Purdue Small Farm Education Field Day

Register for the Purdue Small Farm Education Field Day, an event featuring an array of...

Read More
Chris Wirth holding bug specimen
Behind the Research: Chris Wirth

Many people are involved in the remarkable range of programs, services and facilities that...

Read More
To Top