Advancing Biogeography Through Population Genomics

  • Jeremy S. JohnsonEmail author
  • Konstantin V. Krutovsky
  • Om P. Rajora
  • Keith D. Gaddis
  • David M. Cairns
Part of the Population Genomics book series (POGE)


Biogeography is a multifaceted field that integrates geography, geology, ecology, and biology to investigate both historical and ecological questions of how spatial and temporal patterns of varying environmental factors impact the distribution of species and their evolutionary history. Genomes contain imprints of these impacts and, when such genomic imprints are rightly deciphered and interpreted, can help us address these questions. In the past 10 years, incredible advances have been made with respect to acquiring and deciphering genome sequences. The advances in genomics and bioinformatics and the decreasing costs of nucleotide sequencing have reduced many of the barriers to using genomics in biogeography. Here, we introduce some of the strategies and approaches from population genomics that can be integrated into biogeography research. First, we introduce the field of biogeography and define the two well-established broad subdisciplines of ecological and historical biogeography along with the traditional methods that they use. Next, we present examples of how population genomics approaches can be used to address biogeographic questions. To illustrate how both ecological and historical biogeography can benefit from adopting a population genomics approach, we outline our own research on mountain hemlock as a case study. We also briefly discuss the application of biogeography in biological conservation. We conclude the chapter by discussing some of the remaining challenges and future research avenues that become possible by integrating population genomics into biogeography research.


Biogeography Dendrogenomics Ecological biogeography Historical biogeography Next-generation sequencing Paleogenomics Phylogenomics Reduced representation genomics SNPs Species distribution modeling 



JSJ received support from a National Science Foundation Grant [BCS-1333527]. We would like to thank Aaron Shafer for constructive feedback on an earlier version of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy S. Johnson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Konstantin V. Krutovsky
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Om P. Rajora
    • 6
  • Keith D. Gaddis
    • 7
  • David M. Cairns
    • 7
  1. 1.School of ForestryNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forest Genetics and Forest Tree BreedingGeorg-August University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Ecosystem Science and ManagementTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Laboratory of Population GeneticsN. I. Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Genome Research and Education CenterSiberian Federal UniversityKrasnoyarskRussia
  6. 6.Faculty of Forestry and Environmental ManagementUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  7. 7.Department of GeographyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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