October 2014

Ryan Garrick (University of Mississippi): Applications of genetics to Galápagos tortoise conservation

Molecular genetics offers conservation biologists critical information upon which to design efficient, effective management strategies. Galápagos tortoises are flagships in this respect, because captive breeding programs have been largely facilitated by genetic tools. Recent work on this group has revealed that, occasionally, past hybridization can actually generate positive outcomes for conservation. Indeed, this is the case for Chelonoidis elephantopus, a species that was thought to have been extinct over 150 years ago. However, the reverse is also true. For another pair of evolutionarily distinct lineages of Galápagos tortoises, on-going hybridization is likely to lead to a net loss of biodiversity via lineage collapse and replacement with a hybrid swarm.

October 21, 2014, Lusa Pastry Café, 6pm - 7pm.