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Genetic Monitoring

Targets, strategies, and measures for monitoring biological diversity at the genetic level are needed both regionally and globally. The Convention on Biological Diversity – from Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 – clearly states that biological diversity at the three levels of ecosystems, species and genes - should be conserved, monitored and used sustainably (www.cbd.int). But efforts concerning the genetic level lag behind. Strategies and method for monitoring genetic biodiversity is lacking, in spite of this diversity being of vital importance for species and population survival.

 

Genetic monitoring is particularly important for many species in the Baltic Sea because they are subjected to large scale human impact which is expected to affect genetic diversity. Impact include fishing, releases of captively raised conspecifics, environmental change and pollution.

 

In the BaltGene research programme we have focused on a series of topics necessary to provide a basis for the development of genetic monitoring programs for Baltic Sea populations. The work has focused on i) synthesis of existing policy of relevance for genetic monitoring both internationally and locally around the Baltic Sea, ii) review and synthesis of existing knowledge on spatio-temporal genetic variability patterns of Baltic Sea species including classification and an mapping of genetic divergence and variability patterns, iii) providing new knowledge on genetic divergence and diversity for key Baltic Sea species, iv) methods for monitoring the genetically effective population size – a key parameter with respect to conservation of genetic resources, v) providing methods and guidelines for archives for genetic monitoring, vi) applying genetic monitoring to data sets of aquatic species to show how such monitoring can be used to identify biocomplexity, degree of temporal stability, changes of effective population size, relation between census and effective size, and the importance of connectivity for maintaining genetic diversity.

 

Our progress is presented in several scientific publications, briefly summarized in BaltGene Deliverable 3.1. Conservation genetic monitoring of Baltic Sea populations.

 

 

CONTRIBUTOR
Linda Laikre, Stockholm University, Sweden


Responsible editor: Linda Laikre, Stockholm University
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