Conservation genetics: future directions for genetic and genomic applications for the conservation, restoration and monitoring of biodiversity

Organized by: Michelle Henley, University of Edinburgh, UK
WED 24 (10:30, 14:00)

The Society for Conservation Biology Europe Section was formed to promote conservation biology and its application to conserve biological diversity in Europe.  The section’s goals include promoting the role of scientific review in assessment of conservation strategies and to develop, promote and facilitate networks of communication and collaboration among Society members, and other researchers, managers, government agencies and non-governmental organizations in Europe and throughout the world.
The world is facing an imminent climate and biodiversity crisis due to anthropogenic pressures on the environment.  Many ecosystems are degraded and as a result, many species and habitats are threatened or at risk of extinction within decades, more than ever before in human history.  Genetic diversity is crucial for the long-term survival of species, and the application of genetic methods is now widely accepted in biodiversity assessments and conservation management programs2.
Within conservation science, there is increasing recognition of the value of genetic data to support management decisions.  However, it is widely recognized that there is a disconnect between the availability of genetic information and the application of this information to inform conservation policy and species management1,2.  In addition, much of the genetic research is focused on species which have an economic value or are charismatic and iconic, rather than on species which are scarce or with an unknown conservation status.2
Management of wild populations would benefit from collaborate partnerships between genetic researchers and conservation practitioners1.  The panel will identify partnerships and opportunities for integrating genomic and genetics in conservation actions and policy to ensure genetic research can provide effective solutions for the conservation and of populations and species.

1. Taft Heather R.,  McCoskey,Dana N. ,. Miller, Joshua M., Pearson, Sarah K., Coleman, Melinda A.  Fletcher, Nicholas K. , Mittan, Cinnamon S., Meek, Mariah H. ,and Barbosa, Soraia (2020) ‘Research–management partnerships: An opportunity to integrate genetics in conservation actions’. Conservation Science and Practice, 2(9) p.n/a

2. Pérez-Espona, Sílvia (2017) ‘Conservation genetics in the European Union – Biases, gaps and future directions’ Biological Conservation, 2017-05, Vol.209, p.130-136

Science-management initiatives to monitor genetic diversity using newly proposed indicators
- Linda Laikre (Stockholm University, Sweden)

Introducing the G-BiKE
- Cristiano Vernesi (Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy)

Making sense of effective population size estimates in conservation
- Joachim Mergeay (Research Institute For Nature And Forest, Belgium)

Calling for a re-assessment of conservation policy on hybrids
- Peter Galbusera (Antwerp zoo society (KMDA), Belgium)

Conservation genetics and genomics: tools for biodiversity monitoring in the Central Mediterranean
- Adriana Vella (University Of Malta, Malta)

Using plant genetics to investigate how landscape change, habitat fragmentation and connectivity affect diversity
- Sara Cousins (Stockholm University, Sweden)

The application gap: genomics for ecosystem service management
- Myriam Heuertz (University of Bordeaux (INRAE), France)


Are key trophic interactions of large carnivores maintained in human-dominated landscapes? Insights from DNA metarbarcoding
- Marta De Barba
(University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

A reduced SNP panel to identify wolf population admixture vs. hybridization with other Canis taxa
- Astrid Stronen 
(University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

High throughput sequencing of microsatellites for ecological research – practical large-scale application to brown bears (Urus arctos) and beyond
- Tomaz Skrbinsek 
(University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Bridging the gap: How can genetic analysis translate to conservation action in the Eurasian lynx
- Sarah Mueller
(Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany)

Ponui Island and promising potential for genetic rescue in a long-loved, flightless national icon
- Malin Undin
(Mid Sweden University, Sweden)

Conservation genetics in the highlands; contrasting strategies in Scotland and beyond
- Alex Ball
(Royal Zoological Society Of Scotland, UK)

How to single out species and populations for monitoring of genetic diversity
- Christina Hvilsom
(Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark)