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Rapid evolution of disease resistance in a wild songbird
Dr. Susan L. Balenger, Postdoctoral Researcher, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus
Dr. Balenger is interested in the relationships between environmental stressors, phenotypic plasticity, and the evolution of sexually selected traits and behaviors. She is particularly interested in understanding when and how novel pathogens can drive host adaptive evolution, and how host-pathogen coevolution in turn affects sexual selection. Much of her research to date has focused on the relationship between the House Finch, a wild songbird with sexually selected plumage color, and its bacterial pathogen, Mycoplasma gallisepticum.