Biography

I'm an evolutionary biologist interested in how natural selection, in combination with other evolutionary forces, creates the extraordinary diversity we see in nature. I’m also interested in how a knowledge of evolutionary processes can be used to address important societal challenges, such as preventing spread of agricultural pests and conserving biodiversity. Details of my research can be found on my personal research website, and a full list of publications can be found on my Google Scholar page.

Career History

2016-: BBSRC Future Leader Fellow, University of East Anglia

2015-2016: EGI Research fellow, University of Oxford

2012-2014: NWO Rubicon Research fellow, University of Groningen

2008-2012: PhD, University of East Anglia

2005-2008: BSc (Hons) Ecology (First Class) Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia

All Publications

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Bebbington, K., Kingma, S., Fairfield, E. A., Dugdale, H. L., Komdeur, J., Spurgin, L. G., Richardson, D. S.

(2017)

Kinship and familiarity mitigate costs of social conflict between Seychelles warbler neighbors,

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

114

(43)

pp. E9036–E9045

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Bebbington, K., Fairfield, E., Spurgin, L., Kingma, S. A., Dugdale, H., Komdeur, J., Richardson, D. S.

(2017)

Joint care can outweigh costs of nonkin competition in communal breeders,

in Behavioral Ecology

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(E-pub ahead of print)


Bosse, M., Spurgin, L. G., Laine, V. N., Cole, E. F., Firth, J. A., Gienapp, P., Gosler, A. G., McMahon, K., Poissant, J., Verhagen, I., Groenen, M. A. M., van Oers, K., Sheldon, B. C., Visser, M. E., Slate, J.

(2017)

Recent natural selection causes adaptive evolution of an avian polygenic trait,

in Science

358

(6361)

pp. 365-368

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Spurgin, L. G., Bebbington, K., Fairfield, E. A., Hammers, M., Komdeur, J., Burke, T., Dugdale, H. L., Richardson, D. S.

(2017)

Spatio-temporal variation in lifelong telomere dynamics in a long-term ecological study,

in Journal of Animal Ecology

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(E-pub ahead of print)


McDonald, G. C., Spurgin, L. G., Fairfield, E. A., Richardson, D. S., Pizzari, T.

(2017)

Pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection favor aggressive, young males in polyandrous groups of red junglefowl,

in Evolution

71

(6)

pp. 1653-1669

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Bebbington, K., Kingma, S. A., Fairfield, E. A., Spurgin, L. G., Komdeur, J., Richardson, D. S.

(2017)

Consequences of sibling rivalry vary across life in a passerine bird,

in Behavioral Ecology

28

(2)

pp. 407-418

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Gonzalez-Quevedo, C., Davies, R. G., Phillips, K. P., Spurgin, L. G., Richardson, D. S.

(2016)

Landscape-scale variation in an anthropogenic factor shapes immune gene variation within a wild population,

in Molecular Ecology

25

(17)

pp. 4234–4246

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Bebbington, K., Spurgin, L., Fairfield, E., Dugdale, H. L., Komdeur, J., Burke, T., Richardson, D. S.

(2016)

Telomere length reveals cumulative individual and transgenerational inbreeding effects in a passerine bird,

in Molecular Ecology

25

(12)

pp. 2949–2960

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(Article)

(Published)


Illera, J. C., Spurgin, L. G., Rodriguez-Exposito, E., Nogales, M., Rando, J. C.

(2016)

What are we learning about speciation and extinction from the Canary Islands?,

in Ardeola

63

(1)

pp. 15-33

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Gonzalez-Quevedo, C., Spurgin, L. G., Illera, J. C., Richardson, D. S.

(2015)

Drift, not selection, shapes toll-like receptor variation among oceanic island populations,

in Molecular Ecology

24

(23)

pp. 5852-5863

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Hammers, M., Kingma, S. A., Bebbington, K., van de Crommenacker, J., Spurgin, L. G., Richardson, D. S., Burke, T., Dugdale, H. L., Komdeur, J.

(2015)

Senescence in the wild: Insights from a long-term study on Seychelles warblers,

in Experimental Gerontology

71

pp. 69-79

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Gonzalez Quevedo, C., Phillips, K., Spurgin, L., Richardson, D.

(2015)

454 screening of individual MHC variation in an endemic island passerine,

in Immunogenetics

67

(3)

pp. 149-162

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


P. Padilla, D., Spurgin, L. G., Fairfield, E. A., Illera, J., Richardson, D. S.

(2015)

Population history, gene flow, and bottlenecks in island populations of a secondary seed disperser, the southern grey shrike (Lanius meridionalis koenigi),

in Ecology and Evolution

5

(1)

pp. 36-45

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Lumley, A., Michalczyk, L., Kitson, J., Spurgin, L., Morrison, C., Godwin, J., Dickinson, M., Martin, O., Emerson, B., Chapman, T., Gage, M.

(2015)

Sexual selection protects against extinction,

in Nature

522

(7557)

pp. 470–473

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Spurgin, L., Wright, D., Van der Velde, M., Collar, N., Komdeur, J., Burke, T., Richardson, D.

(2014)

Museum DNA reveals the demographic history of the endangered Seychelles warbler,

in Evolutionary Applications

7

(9)

pp. 1134–1143

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wright, D. J., Spurgin, L. G., Collar, N. J., Komdeur, J., Burke, T., Richardson, D. S.

(2014)

The impact of translocations on neutral and functional genetic diversity within and among populations of the Seychelles warbler,

in Molecular Ecology

23

(9)

pp. 2165-2177

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(Article)

(Published)


Spurgin, L. G., Illera, J. C., Jorgensen, T. H., Dawson, D. A., Richardson, D. S.

(2014)

Genetic and phenotypic divergence in an island bird: isolation by distance, by colonization or by adaptation?,

in Molecular Ecology

23

(5)

pp. 1028-1039

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Spurgin, L.

(2013)

Comment on Gohli et al. (2013): "Does promiscuity explain differences in levels of genetic diversity across passerine birds?",

in Evolution

67

(10)

pp. 3071-3072

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Spurgin, L., Illera, J., Padilla, D., Richardson, D.

(2012)

Biogeographical patterns and co-occurrence of pathogenic infection across island populations of Berthelot’s pipit (Anthus berthelotii),

in Oecologia

168

(3)

pp. 691-701

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Spurgin, L., Van Oosterhout, C., Illera, J., Bridgett, S., Gharbi, K., Emerson, B., Richardson, D.

(2011)

Gene conversion rapidly generates major histocompatibility complex diversity in recently founded bird populations,

in Molecular Ecology

20

(24)

pp. 5213-5225

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(Article)

(Published)


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Key Research Interests

My research uses a combination of DNA sequencing, experimental evolution and natural population sampling to understand complex evolutionary and ecological phenomena. I am currently involved in three, broad projects:

1. ‘Evolve and resequence’ experiments in beetle pests
I have recently been awarded a BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship to use experimental evolution and whole-genome sequencing to understand the genetic basis of thermal adaptation in red flour beetles. This work, in collaboration with Matt Gage at UEA, involves exposing beetle populations to different thermal regimes in the lab over many generations. Then, using whole-genome sequencing and archived samples, we aim to identify key genetic regions involved in adaptation to temperature, and observe how the genome evolves in response to natural selection, in real time.

2. Ecological genomics in wild bird populations
In collaboration with Jon Slate (Sheffield), Ben Sheldon (Oxford), Mirte Bosse and Marcel Visser (Wageningen) and others, I am using genomic approaches to understand evolutionary history and ecological adaptation in great tits (part of the ‘Great Tit HapMap project‘). Using thousands of samples, all genotyped at ~500K SNP markers, we are quantifying population structure, reconstructing evolutionary history, and identifying regions of the genome under selection in one of the most widely studied vertebrates in the world.

3. Candidate gene studies in island birds
With David Richardson and Claire Armstrong (UEA) and Juan Carlos Illera (Oviedo), I have been using neutral markers and candidate gene approaches to understand population history and adaptation in island bird species (Berthelot’s pipit, Seychelles warbler). We have largely focussed on key genes of the immune system (e.g. MHC, TLRs), but are now using genomic methods (exon capture) to understand adaptation at many functional gene classes. We aim to use information gained from genetic data to inform conservation.

 

Opportunities

Specific post-doc and PhD opportunities will be posted on my website. I am keen to discuss opportunities for hosting post-docs and fellows interested in evolutionary biology and population genetics. Please get in touch if you wish to discuss ideas. I am also happy to chat about PhD opportunities, and can help with funding applications. 

 

External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

  • Peer review college member - British Ecological Society
  • Grant reviewer - BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust, Ontario Research Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand, Czech Science Foundation

Administrative Posts

  • Communications Officer, School of Biological Sciences
  • NERC and BBSRC sift panel member