Rebecca Cheek

Sustainability Leadership Fellow Cohort: 2020-2021

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology and the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology

Research Summary: We recognize organisms possess physical traits that help them survive. These traits, encoded by DNA, are continuously shaped by evolution to allow populations of organisms to adapt to their local environments. My research seeks to understand the genetic mechanisms that drive and maintain adaptive traits through the lens of an isolated yet diverse bird population exhibiting patterns of adaptive divergence on a small island. This research is critical, as it demonstrates that conservation biologists must focus efforts on smaller spatial scales to preserve the full range of evolutionary histories needed for wildlife populations to persist in future environments.