Landscape genetics since 2003: status, challenges and future directions
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- Bolliger, J., Lander, T. & Balkenhol, N. Landscape Ecol (2014) 29: 361. doi:10.1007/s10980-013-9982-x
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A scientific symposium on landscape genetics, held at the 2013 IALE Europe Conference in Manchester UK (September 2–8, 2013), highlighted status, challenges and future avenues in the field. Key topics included analytical aspects in landscape genetics, conceptual progress and application of landscape genetics for conservation management. First, analytical aspects referred to statistical relationships between genetic and landscape data. It was suggested that linear mixed models or Bayesian approaches are particularly promising due to more appropriate and powerful ways for analyzing landscape effects on genetic variation. Second, supplementing neutral genetic variation with adaptive genetic variation is very promising. However, research needs to go beyond the identification of genomic regions under selection and provide information on the ecological function of adaptive genetic regions. Conceptually, endogenous processes (e.g., life-history attributes such as dispersal) require consideration as supplementary factors in shaping the genetic variation in addition to landscapes. Also, the temporal dimension in landscapes for both the past and the future should be given increased attention as the genetic responses to landscape change may be non-simultaneous, resulting in time lags. As for applied conservation management, landscape genetics can provide important baseline information such as basic data on species movement in a spatial context, assessments of the spatial need for management efforts, or evaluations of the effectiveness of already existing management measures.