Landscape Genetics: Developing Best Practices for Testing Landscape Effects on Gene Flow

Principal Investigator(s): 

Helene Wagner and Lisette Waits

In order to minimize loss of biodiversity in times of widespread human landscape alteration and global climate change, it is important to understand how landscape pattern affects the persistence of populations and ecological communities. For example, landscape modification and habitat fragmentation affect organism dispersal and gene flow across landscapes. Landscape genetics is a new and highly interdisciplinary field that combines concepts and methods from population genetics, landscape ecology and spatial statistics. Training graduate students in landscape genetics is often limited by the fact that individual research groups have their strength either in population genetics or landscape ecology, but not both.

This Working Group is initiating a Distributed Graduate Seminar (DGS) that brings together experts from the US, Canada, and Europe. They will develop a course that focuses on helping students integrate a constantly growing array of methods from disparate disciplines, and that provides guidance on how these methods can be applied to develop sound principles for conservation management at the landscape scale. Students and faculty from the DGS will also contribute to the greater scientific community by completing projects and developing manuscripts that focus on evaluating and identifying appropriate methods for addressing specific research questions in landscape genetics.

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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