Genetic diversity of grassland plants: the effect of spatiotemporal landscape changes

Duration: 2015-2021

Fragmentation is one of the major threats to biodiversity. However, genetic consequences of fragmentation and its evolutionary impact are not fully understood. DNA sequencing techniques enable the detection of numerous molecular markers in neutral and adaptive parts of genome. This offers great opportunities for answering questions about the effects of fragmentation on genetic diversity and its evolutionary consequences. We will use a system of alvar grasslands in Estonia to examine the effect of fragmentation on the genetic diversity of grassland plants. We will apply novel tools of next-generation sequencing and landscape genomics – a discipline combining population genomics with landscape ecology – to assess the role of current and historic landscape structure on neutral as well as adaptive genetic diversity of plants. The results of the project will advance knowledge of the consequences of fragmentation for biodiversity and are relevant for effective grassland conservation.

Project participants: Tsipe Aavik, Sabrina Träger, Iris Reinula, Marianne Kaldra

Funding: Estonian Research Council Project information in Estonian Research Information System   Scheme of landscape genetic analyses