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Evaluating the genomic mix of endangered animal populations

Evaluating the genomic mix of endangered animal populations

The endangered eastern quoll

New research supported with $460,000 through the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme will help Australian endangered mammal populations to recover, by examining data on their genomic and morphological variation. This data will be combined with the results from conservation translocations, where small populations of endangered species are mixed or moved into predator-controlled habitats to promote their recovery.

Led by Professor Craig Moritz at The Australian National University, with partners including the Australian Museum, and the museums of Western Australia and South Australia, the research team will use new genomics methods to measure precisely the effects of small population size on genetic diversity and mutations, with a focus on seven intensively managed marsupial species.

Using evidence on genomic and phenotypic divergence of remnant and translocated populations, the project will give valuable guidance on when and how to mix populations for fauna restoration projects, and evaluate the risks of these conservation activities.


Image: Small populations of the endangered Eastern Quoll have been re-introduced to mainland Australia from Tasmania. Image Credit: Michael Barritt & Karen May, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0

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