Landscape genetics for understanding species’ connectivity and local adaptation in a changing world

    Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


    Within today’s rapidly changing world, species are faced with great challenges to their dispersal and adaptive capacities, which together underlie the persistence of biodiversity. Molecular genetic approaches offer unrivalled tools to characterise these challenges for the benefit of conservation management. However, new ways of combining spatial and genetic information are needed to aid conservation of species’ connectivity, to understand range expansion potential and to assess evolutionary persistence. Using landscape genetics and genomics techniques, my research unravels the spatial genetic processes that govern the capacity of species to move and adapt when challenged by threats such as habitat degradation and climate change. Specifically, I ask: 1) how do landscape features and climate limit or facilitate gene flow and adaptation of species ?; and 2) what does this imply for the management of species and landscapes? The increasing accessibility of genomic data and advances in modeling tools have revolutionised our ability to address these questions. I will discuss recent advances and applications of landscape genetics, with examples from threatened small Australian mammals (koala, gliders) in urbanised landscapes, and range-expanding damselflies in Europe. This work demonstrates the value of landscape genetics approaches for empowering both conservation planning and our understanding of evolutionary processes in a changing world.
    Period9 Dec 2015
    Held atUniv. of Western Sydney-Hawkesbury, Australia