Biological Sciences

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Professor Josephine Pemberton becomes a Fellow of the Royal Society

10th May 2017

Image by Mick CrawleyCongratulations to the School's Josephine Pemberton who has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Professor Pemberton joins a distinguished list of over 1600 Royal Society fellows, who are recognised for their outstanding achievements in science, engineering and technology. Each year up to 52 Fellows are elected for life from approximately 700 candidates nominated by the existing fellowship. Josephine joins 50 other scientists elected in 2017, including four from the University of Edinburgh.

Josephine is an evolutionary biologist who uses genetic markers to answer questions about the ecology and evolution of natural populations. She pioneered genetic parentage analysis in wild animal populations, leading to new insights into mating behaviour and natural selection. She used the resulting multi-generation pedigrees to quantify the role of additive genetic variation and inbreeding in the expression of phenotypes in the wild. More recently she has made advances using genome-wide genotype information, for example showing that inbreeding depression is more severe than it appears from typical wild pedigrees.

Most of Josephine's research is within two long-term studies in which individual life histories of wild animals are recorded in detail: the Soay sheep of St Kilda and the red deer on the Isle of Rum.

Such datasets allow exceptional multidisciplinary research across ecology and evolution, and Josephine has played a key role in keeping these studies going.

Images (left-right) Apart Ozgul, Fiona Guinness

I am thrilled by this recognition of my research and of the value of long term studies of individuals in the wild – studies that take a lot of collaborative effort and so I also want to want to acknowledge all my collaborators. They know who they are.

Professor Josephine Pemberton, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences

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Image credits

(Top right) Josephine Pemberton by Mick Crawley

(Bottom left) Soay Sheep by Apart Ozgul

(Bottom right) Rum Deer by Fiona Guinness

 

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