New research challenges are emerging at the frontiers between population genetics and ecological modelling that are useful for both uncovering past responses of species and populations to global environmental change and as a means to better integrate these disciplines for prediction.
Through a tighter integration of genetic data when constructing and validating range dynamics models, we are (i) improving predictions of demographic and evolutionary responses to climate change; and (ii) helping conservation scientists to better connect theory to the on-ground design and implementation of effective measures to protect biodiversity.
Soubrier J, Graham G, Chen K, Richards SM, Llamas B, Mitchell KR, Ho SYW, Kosintsev P, Lee MSY, Baryshnikov G, Bollongino R, Bover P, Burger J, Chivall D, Crégut-Bonnoure E, Decker JE, Doronichev VB, Douka K, Fordham DA et al. Early cave art and ancient DNA record the origin of European bison. Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms13158
Fordham DA, Brook BW, Moritz C and Nogués-Bravo D (2014) Better forecasts of range dynamics using genetic data Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29, 436–443 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.05.007
Figure: Schematic illustration of the integration of population genetics and geographical range models for independently validating projections of species responses to climate change (see http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.05.007 ).
Figure |Phylogenetic tree inferred from bovine mitochondrial control region sequences, showing the new clade of bison individuals (see http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13158#f2)