Developing the Role of Museum Collections in Mammalian Conservation Genomics: SE Asia as a Case Study

Theme: Biodiversity & Ecology

Primary Supervisor:

Laurent Frantz

Organismal biology, QMUL

Project Description:

The collections held in natural history museums have the potential to make an important contribution to research in biological conservation and evolution. These collections are particularly important for regions where there have been recent major anthropogenic impacts, as specimens can enable us to directly assess the impact of any resulting environmental and ecological changes. However, museum material remains an underused source of information, despite recent developments in the recovery and analysis of both genetic (“museomics”) and morphometric information.

This project will use a “museomic” approach to better understand how recent anthropogenic changes have impacted on the genetic diversity of Island Southeast Asian mammalian species (e.g. Sulawesi, Borneo and Sumatra). More specifically, the student will generate and compare population genomic data from both contemporary individuals (wild and zoo), and museum specimens, in several species (e.g. Anoa, Tarsier, Babirussa, Orang-Utan etc.). In addition to training in the recovery and analysis of genetic data from museum specimens, it is anticipated that the student will have the opportunity to conduct off-site sampling in other museums, and potentially laboratory work in Indonesia.

Policy Impact of Research:

The project aims to better develop a role for museum specimens as a source of data on long-term genomic and demographic change, as well as informing conservation policy in SE Asian mammals.


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