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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Massatti, Rob [1], Winkler, Daniel [2], Jones, Matthew [3].

Informing conservation and restoration management using spatially-explicit estimations of patterns of genetic diversity.

Understanding the spatial distribution of genetic variation within species is essential to the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem function. For instance, spatially-explicit genetic approaches can support conservation and restoration needs of species by resolving patterns of functional connectivity across fragmented habitats, identifying genetically-based ecosystem processes, and uncovering adaptive variation in species on the brink of extinction. While genetic diversity is recognized as one of the three basic elements of biodiversity by the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity, most current restoration and conservation guidelines used by management organizations rely upon other sources of information, such as ecological delineations like physiographic units, because appropriate genetic data are not yet available. However, now that high-throughput sequencing (i.e., genomic) data are becoming more common, opportunities exist to improve tools to better guide decision-making and simultaneously advance ecological and evolutionary understanding. To support the implementation of genomic data in restoration and conservation, we developed an analytical framework implemented in R that we term popmaps (Population Management using Ancestry Probability Surfaces), which promotes the inference and visualization of geographic distributions of intraspecific genetic variation. The methodology includes opportunities for model fitting, parameter testing, and customization allowing system-specific biological characteristics to influence modeling outcomes. We test our method on empirical genetic and environmental datasets for two species with important conservation and restoration needs: James’ galleta grass (Hilaria jamesii; Poaceae), a common grass across the Intermountain West frequently used in restoration, and Navajo sedge (Carex specuicola; Cyperaceae), a rare plant species listed as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Through this framework and by virtue of the species used, we highlight the effectiveness of the method across disciplines where the conservation of genetic diversity is valued as a primary management goal.

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Related Links:
Genetics for Weestern Restoration and Conservation research group website

1 - U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, 2255 N. Gemini Drive, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001, United States
2 - U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, 2290 Resource Blvd., Moab, UT, 84532, USA
3 - U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, 2255 N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff, AZ, 86001, USA

Population Genetics
Intermountain West
high throughput sequencing
genetic structure

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB02, Conservation Biology 2
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 1:30 PM(EDT)
Number: CB02005
Abstract ID:626
Candidate for Awards:None

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