Given the present biodiversity crisis and the limited resources to preserve it, one of the major international goals is to improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding species and genetic diversity in conservation areas’ networks. Standard conservation prioritization approaches use species as currencies for biodiversity, disregarding that some species are more similar to each other than others, and that intra-specific genetic diversity is essential to allow adaptation to environmental changes and maintenance of evolutionary processes. This project aims at developing a novel and general framework to assist in delineating priority conservation areas, optimized to preserve biodiversity at different evolutionary levels, while accounting for adaptive potential and evolutionary and spatial dynamics under climate change. To develop this framework, we will study spatial patterns of diversity of Iberian amphibians at different evolutionary levels (inter- and intra-specific) to infer the historical, geographic and environmental factors underlying those patterns. In particular, we will focus our attention in three co-occurring amphibian species in the North of the Iberian Peninsula - Rana iberica, R. temporaria and Alytes obstetricans – and map putative adaptive diversity across their range. Finally, we will investigate whether the relevant factors may constitute effective surrogates for genetic diversity in data-limited taxa, and develop generalized conservation planning rules based on our findings.



Funding agency: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia /Programa COMPETE

Budget: 139 470€

Project Code: PTDC/BIA-BIC/3545/2014

Period: 2015-2018

Principal investigator: Carvalho SB



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