The 10-year anniversary of landscape genetics: current status, remaining challenges and future potential of genetic approaches in landscape ecology
Symposium organised by:
Janine Bolliger, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland.
Niko Balkenhol, Department of Forest Zoology & Forest Conservation, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany.
Tonya Lander Natural History Museum, London, UK.
The symposium will discuss landscape genetics, which is an exciting and rapidly growing sub-discipline of landscape ecology. It will include a mixture or conceptual, methodological and applied contributions, providing an overview of the opportunities, remaining challenges and potential future directions.
A major scientific benefit of landscape genetics is the provision of a conceptual and analytical framework for explaining and predicting dispersal, migration, and gene flow based on spatial, dynamic landscape patterns. The combination of molecular genetic and landscape/environment data with modelling approaches offers a unique setting to test questions of species behaviour under climate and land-use change.
Landscape genetics identifies the degree of individual or gene exchange as well as its directionality among populations or individuals, and provides direct tests of functional connectivity in relation to landscape structure. This contrasts to much ecological research and practical management interventions where structural connectivity is an indicator of functional connectivity. Since the first definition in 2003, it has become evident that landscape genetics extends knowledge on movement in a spatial context; allows reliable success controls and monitoring of management measures; and identifies management needs.
Landscape genetics provides concepts and methods that contribute to basic and applied research, especially conservation management and landscape planning.Landscape genetics is increasingly used to quantify the adaptive significance of genes in relation to landscape properties. For this the field draws from modern genomics approaches, which have potential for enhancing our understanding of selection, adaptation, and evolution in heterogeneous environments.
A conference report/short communication on the symposium will be submitted to Landscape Ecology highlighting the newest methodological developments and applications in landscape genetics. The journal Landscape Ecology ensures that the international target audience of IALE is informed about the scientific and applied progress of landscape genetics.