Integrative conservation genetics: Prioritizing populations using climate predictions, adaptive potential and habitat connectivity
AbstractConservation decisions often involve allocation of scarce resources among many areas of need. Various approaches exist to help prioritize species and populations for conservation. Past efforts have often used relatively narrow, one‐dimensional criteria, such as genetic resource value or exposure to threats. What is lacking is a refined, comprehensive prioritization approach including ecological and evolutionary aspects, informed by rich and reliable data. In this issue of Molecular Ecology Resources, Razgour et al. (2017) present a new prioritization framework that coherently integrates three dimensions of population vulnerability: exposure to change, sensitivity to change and range shift potential. They measure these dimensions for 10 populations of a European bat using a suite of advanced analysis methods that leverage genomic, environmental and occurrence data. Explicitly recognizing and quantifying the multidimensional nature of conservation priorities is a key advance because it enables a nuanced assessment of each population and identification of populations of high concern along all three dimensions. With some caveats and modifications, this framework could be a major step for conservation prioritization and intervention that is proactive and informed by evolutionary principles.
Volume, Issue, Page Number18, 1, 14-17