Each year, the La Kretz Center sponsors this hands-on workshop, held jointly at our Field Station and Stunt Ranch. Our goal is to provide training and access to the most current issues and techniques in population genomics, and how these tools can be applied to pressing conservation problems.
Our workshop is held in late March, and provides four days of intensive, hands-on experience to a small group of students drawn from across California, the US, and the globe. If you are a Ph.D. student who wants to use the tools of genomic analysis to help conservation science, please consider joining us at the next workshop.
Conservation biology and population genetics have had a long and intimate relationship, and constitute one of the key applications of evolutionary analysis to real-world biological problems. The impacts of population genetics, phylogeography and phylogenetics have been particularly striking for conservation managers and practitioners, and have helped solve some of the most pressing problems in biological conservation. Issues ranging from fisheries management, to hybridization threats from invasive species, to the recognition of cryptic, endangered lineages are all part of the purview of the emerging field of conservation genetics/genomics.
As the field of landscape-based genetics continues to grow and mature, the increasing availability of genomic-level data, analytical models and methods stand to make profound new contributions to our ability to identify and protect at-risk populations and recover those that are most endangered. However, genomic level analyses also carry a heavy burden—data sets are enormous and often require diverse computational approaches for assembly, quality control and analysis. Often, the researchers who are best trained as field biologists, ecologists, natural historians and conservationists are also unsure of how to manage these genomic-scale studies.
This annual workshop provides a comfortable, informal training environment for a small group of 20-25 motivated graduate students to explore how conservation problems can best be addressed with genomic-level data. Our goal is to provide hands-on experience in the efficient collection, troubleshooting, and analysis of large, genome-level data sets for conservation-relevant problems. We focus specifically on non-model systems, and how we can best study and protect endangered taxa with genomic approaches. One of the highlights of our workshop is active participation from members of several US and California governmental agencies who use actual genetic data in endangered species protection and management, providing a forum for exploring the most relevant aspects of conservation genomics to managers.
If this sounds like a program that would benefit you and your research, please consider applying for our next workshop. See you there!
Our workshop is held in late March, and provides four days of intensive, hands-on experience to a small group of students drawn from across California, the US, and the globe. If you are a Ph.D. student who wants to use the tools of genomic analysis to help conservation science, please consider joining us at our next workshop.
Genomics of non-model systems, and the applications of those data to applied conservation, change daily. RADseq, target capture, and whole-genome resequencing all have their place, and all provide technical and analytical challenges that we explore with hands-on tutorials. Equally important, we discuss how to make your analyses accessible and relevant to applied conservation scientists and administrators. We do this by inviting state and federal agency managers to discuss the ways in which they see genomics shaping conservation decision-making now and in the future. These interactions are foundational to our workshop, and provide insights into partnerships that achieve our primary goal: genomic science that helps conservation decision-makers.