Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Allen, Jessica [1].

Conservation Genetics in Lichens.

Recent technological advancements have expanded the possibilities for conservation genetics studies in lichens that circumvent prior methodological challenges. For instance, genomic sequencing techniques that require lower quantities of DNA, such as the Illumina TruSeq DNA Nano library preparation kit, can now be used with lichens that consistently yield low DNA quantities from extractions. Long read sequencing on the Oxford Nanopore platform is more financially feasible than other long-read sequencing techniques, making the possibility of high-quality genome assemblies widely accessible. Bioinformatic advancements in metagenome binning based on both taxonomy and compositional features removes the requirement of using axenic cultures of symbionts for genomic sequencing.  With these technological advancements, lichenologists can now more easily answer major questions about lichen populations using diverse taxa. For example, these techniques can be used to better understand the causes of rarity in lichens, whether its dispersal limitation, lack of a suitable symbiont, extreme niche specificity, or a recent bottleneck event. Furthermore, these data can answer questions about the basic reproductive biology of rare lichens, including measuring rates of clonality and mating type ratios within populations. One outstanding question requiring both theoretical and empirical advancement is establishing minimum viable population sizes for a wide diversity of taxa. A common critique of lichen conservation, and the conservation of other understudied groups of organisms, is a lack of fundamental knowledge that is required for applying conservation statuses and making conservation decisions. Population genetics studies in diverse lineages of lichens from distinct geographic regions will allow us to observe common patterns and draw broadly applicable conclusions and practices with a firm foundation in empirical data. Lichenologists are now poised as a community of researchers to broadly advance knowledge of lichen population genetics by harnessing recent methodological advancements.

1 - Eastern Washington University, Biology, 258 Science Building, Cheney, Washington, 99004, United States

population genetics
Population genomics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Abstract ID:596
Candidate for Awards:None

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