The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre


Applying coalescent-based genetic simulations to the conservation of endangered species

New analytical methods have recently been developed to use molecular data to estimate demographic fluctuations over time. These methods take advantage of coalescent theory and have a great relevance in a number of areas including wildlife conservation. Their application provides a unique opportunity to extrapolate vital information that would not otherwise be accessible. However we are still in early days and validations with empirical data in ‘natural’ contexts are much needed.
We propose to apply these methods to large datasets obtained from different species and evaluate their performances and applicability in wildlife management. We have demographic estimations based on standard ecological methods that can be used to assess the accuracy of the inference from molecular data. Our work will investigate the statistical power of coalescent-based analyses and evaluate the conditions (e.g. number of loci, time scale) where these methodologies are a suitable choice.

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