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The molecular clock of the common buzzard
Date:10/23/2013

the tag to the researchers, they can use the blood samples to gain matching information on certain genes. Phone calls from lay ornithologists do not just come from Bielefeld and the region in which the birds have been tagged but from as far as Belgium and the Netherlands. The researchers advertise their project with a website in several languages, a leaflet, and in web forums.

'Thanks to the help of numerous birders, we now have enough reports to draw first conclusions,' says Chakarov. For resighted buzzards the team analysed four genes that play a role in the molecular clock. 'We managed to determine an effect of three of these genes,' the biologist explains. 'These allow us to predict the time point when young birds leave their parents' territory.' These same genes code the neurotransmitters which control migratory behaviour in songbirds. Moreover, the same genes may also influence the time of breeding and thereby contribute to adapting to local climate conditions.

In the next few years, Professor Krger's team will be studying whether these genes also help the buzzards to adapt better to climate change. Here as well, the researchers will be depending on sightings of tagged birds. Birdwatchers can send in the codes of buzzards either by telephone (0521/106 2842) or by Email: bussarde@uni-bielefeld.de


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Contact: Nayden Chakarov
az.nayden@gmail.com
49-521-106-2620
University of Bielefeld
Source:Eurekalert  

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