Abstracts (first author)
Why genetics, genomics, bioinformatics and evolutionary theory may matter for conservation
Conservation biology and evolution may at fist sight be a contradiction in terms. Evolutionary Biology is about how life on planet Earth has changed and Conservation Biology is concerned about to halt and stop some of the unwanted changes brought about by human impact. In this talk I will argue that to preserve biodiversity and halt the ongoing extinction of populations and species, a fuller understanding of the evolutionary processes brought about by human activities on natural populations is needed. It is now often acknowledged that a useful conservation strategy is to preserve any natural population’s ability to adapt to future change. It is however, less clear how such a conservation program should be implemented. It has been claimed that in order to accomplish this task, conservation programs need to preserve genetic variation within the focal populations. It is however not clear what is meant by 'genetic variation'. I will discuss different approaches how genetic variation can be studied in a conservation context and how genomic data can be used to address issues of genetic variation relevant for conservation using examples from our own research.