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New pre-print up! "The global protected area network does not harbor genetically diverse populations"

Research group alum Chloé Schmidt, together with Eleana and Colin, led a cool project examining genetic diversity and protected areas associated with a Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis macrogenetics working group. You can find the pre-print here.


We examined examined a global sample of nuclear population-level genetic data comprised of georeferenced genotypes from 2,513 local populations, 134,183 individuals, and 176 species of mammals and marine fish (see figure below). We found that the existing protected area network does not capture populations with higher than average genetic diversity, and populations within protected areas are not more genetically differentiated than populations sampled elsewhere. This probably shouldn't be surprising given most protected areas were not designed with genetic diversity in mind. Our findings don't mean that we cannot design protected areas with genetic diversity in mind moving forward, this might be good strategy, but at the moment there is little evidence to suggest protected areas currently encompass areas of high genetic diversity or highly differentiated populations.




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