The aim of this project is to develop novel methods and computational tools to incorporate evolutionary processes into conservation planning. Ultimately, these methods and tools are aimed at supporting decision making in the conservation planning field.
To accomplish these objectives, we are focusing on the amphibians and reptiles in the Iberian Peninsula. These species have been the centre of attention of multiple studies concerning their phylogenetic relatedness and the spatial variation of their genetic diversity at the intra-specific level. This project will compile and systematize all the relevant data that have been produced in this regard. A database will be produced containing the geographical coordinates of the locations where the tissue samples of each species were collected and the corresponding molecular sequences of the mitochondrial gene fragments available in the literature and online data bases. The project will also produce new data to cover important gaps in the spatial coverage of the published data, by collecting tissue samples in the field and subsequently analysing them in the laboratory with molecular techniques. An intra-specific phylogenetic tree will be produced for each species and genetic diversity and divergence will be analysed in space using geostatistics.
The ultimate objective is to identify the set of areas that optimally concentrate endemic species, species with a long evolutionary history, and intra-specific diversity and divergence. A computational tool will be developed to analyse these type of data in a straightforward way and made available to the biological conservation community. The goal is to provide a tool that can assist conservation prioritization projects using genetic data of any species and anywhere in the world. Thus, we expect this project to have positive repercussions both at the scientific and technical levels and to influence future conservation policy.
Funding agency: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia /Programa COMPETE
Budget: 95 000€
Project Code: PTDC/BIA-BIC/118624/2010
Principal investigator: SB Carvalho