Beatriz de Lacerda Pereira
Project title: Genetic adaptation to captivity: addressing the role zoological parks and museums play in domestication and conservation
Summary: Out of all assessed species, 27% (over 31,000 species) are threatened with extinction worldwide. Through ex-situ conservation, zoos play a huge role in mitigating this extinction crisis. In fact, captive populations can be seen as insurance populations for the future as they provide possibilities of reintroduction. However, high levels of inbreeding and adaptation to captivity may be present in zoo populations; and these alterations may increase their vulnerability to extinction when released in the wild. In order to assess this, we will use state-of-the-art genomic techniques to compare genetic information obtained from both wild and captive and modern (zoo) and historical (natural history museums) populations. We will investigate whether zoo populations are in fact more inbred and whether genomic evidence for adaptation to captivity can be seen. This will ultimately allow us to assess whether their potential to be released in the future has already been compromised by their long-term captivity.
- Dr Laurent Frantz