CITY birds are genetically different and more advantaged compared to countryside birds according to a recent study.
The study is the largest of its kind in detecting how birds genetically adapt to different environments.
The researchers studied 192 birds in nine European cities including Glasgow, Malmö, Gothenburg, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon and Milan.
They compared genes from city birds those of their counterparts in the countryside and found that across all European cities, birds evolve in a similar way to adapt to the urban environment.
The research included a study of birds from Kelvingrove Park and birds from the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment forest near Loch Lomond.
Blood samples were taken from the birds and genetically analysed for the findings.
The findings of the research revealed that different genes linked to important biological functions controlled by serotonin were found to have been selected and passed down generations in the city birds.
In more rural communities, these genes are important but the genes that control them do not grant the same survival benefits as they do in an urban environment.
Caroline Isaksson said: “This indicates that these behaviours, and cognition, are very important in order to live in urban environments with a lot of stress in the form of noise pollution, light at night, air pollution and constant proximity to people.”
Dr Pablo Salmón said: “It is surprising that cities, which from an evolutionary perspective are a recent phenomenon, are already leaving their footprint in the genome of birds.”
The study has been published in Nature Communications: Continent-wide genomic signatures of adaptation to urbanisation in a songbird across Europe.