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Uncovering hidden relationships: genetic diversity and conservation genetics

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How well animal and plant species can adapt to their environment depends on their genetic diversity. We research ecological processes in populations of fungi, lichens, plants and animals using molecular-genetic methods, and complement these with experimental studies.

 

How do Alpine plants adapt to changing environmental conditions? How do roads, ecological corridors and other landscape elements affect the dispersal and connectivity of populations? How do population processes, such as inbreeding, affect the distribution of rare species? And how many animals actually live in a place?

The answers to these questions can be hidden in the genes of the species concerned. Using molecular-genetic methods and experiments, for example experiments in the greenhouse, we research ecological processes in plant and animal populations, identify species based on the DNA sequences and verify the existence of species in environmental samples.

In our research, we focus on species which play an important role in the ecosystem, whose distributional focus is in Switzerland or which are rare or endangered, such as Swiss stone pine or the European tree frog. Our findings form the basis for the planning and implementation of conservation and species protection measures, as well as for silviculture.

 

Topics

Landscape genetics

We use methods of landscape genetics to investigate the dispersal and connectivity of animals and plants in fragmented landscapes.

Swiss stone pine

We combine genetic and ecological approaches to better understand the evolutionary biology of P. cembra and to contribute to its sustainable use and...

Lung lichen

We study the biology and threats of the lung lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria) and other threatened forest lichens.

 

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