Long-term Sabbatical

Sabbatical book project: genetics of small populations

PI(s): Michael Antolin (Colorado State University)
Start Date: 15-Sep-2008
End Date: 15-May-2009
Keywords: population genetics, evolutionary genetics, natural populations, evolutionary theory, empirical studies

Population and evolutionary genetics of small and fragmented populations in the wild have numerous applications useful to ecologists, land managers, and conservation biologists. Indeed, developments in both the technology to collect large amounts of genetic data and the bioinformatics tools to analyze the data are revolutionizing the application of genetics to ecological problems. Ecological and evolutionary time scales may be more similar than has been presumed, and gaps in understanding between evolutionary geneticists and ecologists would severely limit adoption of evolutionary genetics analyses. The purpose of this sabbatical is to write a book, to be published by Princeton University Press, on ?Genetics of Small Populations?, to make the power of evolutionary genetics available to a broader scientific and biological audience. The goal is to describe both empirical studies of small populations and the conceptual population genetic framework, with more technical, theoretical, and analytical aspects presented in sidebars and appendices. Initial chapters will describe habitat and population fragmentation, genetic drift, natural selection, and mutation. Subsequent chapters take closer looks at the consequences of small populations, including metapopulation dynamics (extinction-recolonization of local populations), sex ratios and mating systems, infectious diseases, and aspects of conservation genetics. Additionally, part of the sabbatical period will be used to initiate a working group examining landscape genetics, in particular to work on extending genetic assignment tests to implicitly include landscape features.