On Thursday 8 October, Queen’s Biology’s very own Dr. Vicki Friesen will present:
Can We Predict Appropriate Population Units for Successful Conservation?
Identification of genetically differentiated populations is critical for successful conservation. If local populations differ genetically, then loss of a population may deplete some of the species’ genetic resources, including local adaptations. Genetically differentiated populations also are not likely to be recolonized naturally following extirpation. Furthermore, demographic parameters such as mortality rates and main sources of mortality may differ between such populations. Thus, genetically differentiated populations should be managed separately, as recognized in most endangered species legislation. However, identification of genetically isolated populations can be time-consuming and expensive if not virtually impossible, especially for declining or cryptic species. Could such populations be predicted from appropriate population and ecological variables? Here I review population genetic studies of seabirds to test the predictive value of five such factors: physical (geographic) barriers to dispersal, philopatry, and differences in ocean regimes, nonbreeding distributions and breeding phenology.