Ptarmigan Ecogenomics

About the project

Ecological genomics encompasses ecology, genomics, and evolutionary biology, and utilizes genomic approaches to address consequential ecological questions. Within the frame of the recently completed comprehensive project, “Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) health and population change” spanning the years 2006-2018, a unique tissue-, and dataset have been created by an annual collection of data on this wild bird population in NE Iceland. Icelandic rock ptarmigan health parameters and tissue collection are unique, with no such comparable dataset available elsewhere. We aim to explore the impact of trophic interactions such as diversity of the gut microbial community, plant-herbivore interactions, and the role of toxins. To convey an ecogenomic approach, we have generated a high-quality annotated rock ptarmigan genome with transcriptomes to conduct comparative genomics and tissue-specific expression analysis. Our goal is to map and characterize genomic regions involved in selection/adaption and examine how genes are involved in various biological processes such as abiotic and biotic stress responses.

Keywords: Conservation genomics, Population genetics, NGS, WGS, SNP

Funded by RANNIS - Icelandic Research Fund (IRF nr. 206529-052).


  • Kristinn Pétur Magnússon, Professor of molecular genetics, Faculty of Resource Sciences, University of Akureyri and specialist at Icelandic Institute of Natural History
  • Patrik Rödin-Mörch, PostDoc at UNAK (funded by IRF)
  • Thedore Squires, Ph.D. student at UNAK (funded by IRF)



Vöktun rjúpnastofnsins

Máney Sveinsdóttir & Kristinn Pétur Magnússon (2017). Complete mitochondrial genome and phylogenetic analysis of willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) (Galliformes: Phasianidae: Tetraoninae), Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 2:2, 400-402, DOI: 10.1080/23802359.2017.1347834

Kozma R, Melsted P, Magnússon KP, Höglund J. Looking into the past - the reaction of three grouse species to climate change over the last million years using whole genome sequences. Molecular Ecolology 2016 Jan;25(2):570-80. doi: 10.1111/mec.13496. Epub 2016 Jan 19. PMID: 26607571.