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Gewählte Doctoral Thesis:

Florian Kunz (2022): Spatial genetic variation and differentiation within metapopulation systems: drivers and trends to inform conservation of alpine grouse.
Doctoral Thesis - Institut für Wildbiologie und Jagdwirtschaft (IWJ), BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 113. UB BOKU obvsg FullText

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
In the current era of rapid biodiversity loss, understanding genetic variation of populations as well as its trends and drivers is fundamental for their long-term preservation and hence integral for sustainable development. Thereby, species of mountainous areas are of special conservation concern given the landscape’s high heterogeneity as well as the challenges induced through global change. As such, Eastern Alpine Black Grouse and Black Forest Western Capercaillie are two metapopulation systems in the focus of conservation. While Eastern Alpine Black Grouse are threatened with range contradiction and local extinctions, Black Forest Capercaillie have experienced a dramatic decline in the past centuries. Both metapopulation systems therefore call for an effective design of conservation strategies. Hence, I conducted analyses targeting the genetic diversity and population structure of these systems, finding slight isolation effects for Black Grouse and pronounced genetic differentiation for Capercaillie. Initiated by these results, I studied whether the observed structure for Black Grouse is in some way driven by the underlying landscape. While genetic diversity is generally high, we found spatial genetic variation to be partially driven by effects of isolation by resistance, with the easternmost subpopulation showing signs of increasing isolation. As those analyses are snapshots in time, I further looked into genetic differentiation in Capercaillie over time. I therefore build simulations projecting genetic differentiation driven by migration rates and tested realistic yet hypothetical scenarios. By making use of newly developed approaches combined with well-established methods, I was able to make valuable contributions to our general understanding of metapopulation systems and their genetic viability. Furthermore, all studies within this thesis were informed by practitioners’ needs and therefore aimed to impact conservation practice and policy.

Betreuer: Hackländer Klaus
1. Berater: Nopp-Mayr Ursula
2. Berater:

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