Graduate Seminar Announcement

Integrative Biology (IB) 291 - Research Seminar - Genetics And The Conservation Of Wild Populations

Instructors: Craig Moritz (IB), George Roderick (ESPM) and Bill Sherwin (Univ. New South Wales)

Organizer: Craig Moritz (

Time: Wednesdays 3:00 - 5:00 pm for 8 weeks, commencing October 17th

Location: 214 Havalind

An expanded outline: Genetics And The Conservation Of Wild Populations

Genetic variation is recognized as one of three fundamental levels of biodiversity (ecosystem, species, genes). Seminal works in the early 1980s laid the basis for Conservation Genetics, and since then there has been an explosion of both the molecular and statistical methods for assessing genetic diversity (Hillis et al, 1996; Luikart and England, 1999). The new methods can be applied directly to recognize and guide the protection of genetic diversity per se, but there is also rapidly growing use of them to address diverse questions concerning behavior, demography and biogeographic history - the domain of molecular ecology - of threatened populations and species. Application of these methods to natural, often threatened populations has stimulated further development of theory and algorithms relating to finite or non-equilibrium populations, the relationship between molecular and quantitiative genetic diversity and these to fitness, conservation prioritization, and so on.

In this seminar we will discuss the past present and future use of genetic theory and tools for conserving natural populations. As a framework, we will review (and critique) draft chapters of a monograph being written by Moritz & Sherwin, adding two or more supplementary papers from the primary literature per session.

Topics are as follows:

WEEK 1 Introduction
History and Scope of Genetics in Conservation
WEEK 2 Tools and Concepts and Surrogates in Conservation Genetics
Analysis of Molecular Variation
Genetic Analysis of Fitness and Related Traits
WEEK 3: Molecular Ecology part 1
Inferences about Mating Systems and Population Structure
Estimation of Rates of Genetic Change
WEEK 4: Molecular Ecology part 2
Population structure and Connectivity
Detection and Analysis of Hybridisation
WEEK 5: Conservation of Genetic Variation part 1
Biodiversity Assessment

WEEK 6: Conservation of Genetic Variation part 2
Accelerated genetic change in small populations: loss of variation and inbreeding

WEEK 7: Conservation of Genetic Variation part 3
Interactions among populations
Impacts of Humans on Wild Populations

WEEK 8: Synthesis
Practical Applications of Genetic Principles to Wildlife Management