Conservation Genetics, BEES 708E                                                             Spring 2009

Instructor:  C. B. Fenster (3233, Biology/Psychology,, x5-1640)
Wednesday:  12:00-14:50 (B/P 1230)
Office Hours:  By appointment or drop by my office and see if I can chat.

Objective: To read papers/material to come to critically based conclusions as to what important questions remain to be addressed.  The focus will be on papers that utilize genetic approaches. A lecture and seminar approach will be used.

Required work:  Reading, Participation, Weekly summaries of lecture focusing on one of the papers (1-2 pages) (to be handed in within one week following the lecture, FIRM deadline). Group participation in teams of 3 students to focus on one aspect of conservation genetics. Review the literature and summarize future directions. Present findings to class and submit a short well written publication quality essay on the topic, 1- 5 pages. Each person must participate in at least 2 topics.

Grade based on 100 pts: Summaries of lectures: 20 pts (5 of 7 @ 4 pts each); Papers 2 x 20 pts = 40; Presentation: 2 x 20  pts = 40, total = 100

Text Book: Frankham, R., J. D. Ballou, and D. A. Briscoe. 2007. Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge. ISBN – 13: 978-0-521-63985-9

Other Good Resources: Hartl and Clarke:  Population Genetics; Lynch and Walsh: Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits; Falconer and Mackay:  Quantitative Genetics


Journals:  Evolution, Genetics, Genetic Research Cambridge, Heredity, Molecular Evolution, Molecular Ecology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Trends in Genetics, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics; Annual Review of Genetics, Conservation Biology, Conservation Genetics



I. Introduction to Conservation Genetics

1. Its All About Small Populations (January 28th)

PDF of lecture

Chapters 1 – 3 (FB&B)
Frankham, R.  1995.  Conservation genetics.  Annu. Rev. Genetics 29: 305-327.
Frankham,R. 1999. Quantitative genetics in conservation biology. Genet Res.74:237-244.


II. Evolutionary Processes:

2. A Little Bit of Population Genetics (selection and geneflow) (January 28th)

Chaps 4 and 6, pages 167-172  (FB&B), handout

3. Selection: Evidence for Selection, The Strength of Selection (Feb. 4th)


Pages 211-212 (FB&B)
Dobzhansky, Th.  1948.  XVI. Altitudinal and seasonal changes produced by natural selection in certain populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura and Drosophilapersimilis.  Genetics 33: 158-176.

Snaydon, R. W.  1970.  Rapid differentiation in a mosaic environment. I.  The response of Anthoxanthum odaratum populations to soils.  Evolution 24: 257-260).  Read only 257-259.

Davies, M. S., and R. W. Snaydon.  1976.  Rapid population differentiation in a mosaic environment. III.  Measures of selection pressures.  Heredity 36: 59-66.

Reznick, D. N. et al.  1997.  Evaluation of the rate of evolution in natural populations of guppies (Poecillia reticulata).  Science 275: 1934-1936.

Lande, R. and S. J. Arnold.  1983.  The measurement of selection on correlated characters.  Evolution 37:  1210-1226. (For Reference)

Kalisz, S.  1986.  Variable selection on the timing of germination in Collinsia verna (Scrophulariaceae).  Evolution 40: 479-491.

Blows MW. 2007. A tale of two matrices: multivariate approaches in evolutionary biology JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 20: 1-8. (For Reference)

Kingsolver, J. G. et al.  2001.  The strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations.  Am. Nat. 157: 245-261.


4. Drift (Feb 11th)

Chapter 8 (through page 190), Chapter 10

5. Population Fragmentation, Population Structure, Metapopulations (Feb 11th)


Chapter 13

Giles, B. E. and J. Goudet. 1997. Genetic Differentiation in Silene dioica Metapopulations: Estimation of Spatiotemporal Effects in a Successional Plant Species. The American Naturalist, Vol. 149, No. 3. (Mar., 1997), pp. 507-526.


6. Selection and Population Size (Feb 18th)

FB&B: 190-191; 214-218

Weber, K. E.  1990b.  Increased selection response in larger population sizes.
                                    Genetics 125: 579-584.


Power point


7. Mutations (Feb 25th)

Chapter 7 (through 166)

Lynch, Connery and Burger. 1995. American Naturalist

Lande. 1995. Conservation Biology

Bataillon, T. 2000. Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84: 497-501.

Denver, D. R. et al. 2004. High mutation rate and predominance of insertions in the Caenorhabditis elegans nuclear genome. Nature 430: 679-682.




8. Inbreeding, Inbreeding depression, Outbreeding Depression  (March 4th)


Chapters 11 and 12 (FB&B), and pages 385-388

Fenster, C. B. and L. F. Galloway. 2000a. Population differentiation in an annual legume: genetic architecture. Evolution, 54: 1157-1172.

Fenster, C. B. and L. F. Galloway. 2000b. Inbreeding and outbreeding depression in natural populations of Chamaecrista fasciculata (Fabaceae): consequences for conservation biology. Conservation Biology, 14: 1406-1412.



III. Quantitative Genetics

9. Heritability & Maintenance of Genetic Variation (March 11th)


Chapter 5 (FB&B)

Mousseau, T. A. and D. A. Roff.  1987.  Natural selection and the heritability of fitness components.  Heredity 59: 181-198.

Houle, D. K.  1992.  Comparing evolvability and variability of quantitative traits. Genetics 130: 195-204.


IV. Potential Class Projects

March 25th, April 1, April 8th, April 15th, April 22nd, April 29, May 6th
Population Size and Evolvability
Evolvability and Climate Change
Restoring Population Vigor
Predicting population success for restoration

Summary during exam period