The COONECT.GENE Project focus on ecological corridors evaluation for the conservation of genetic diversity of Azorean endangered species. In small islands the prevalence of disturbing events have dramatic effects on the biota and increase the corridors importance, providing a potential avenue for examining this complexity and understanding the ecological-evolutionary continuum. Understanding species genetic response to changes on landscape and functional connectivity, among populations, is essential to implement effective long-term conservation plans, which could be after extrapolated to other worldwide similar systems. Despite the clear importance of habitat connectivity for population’s persistence, specific factors mediating connectivity are largely unknown. Species lineage age, allied to volcanology, landscape structure and habitat diversity, will be used in this project to explain Azorean floristic diversity patterns as well as evaluate the ecological corridors effectiveness. The project will identify the most effective corridors on the rosary group of islands system Terceira-Pico-Faial for lanscape planning on biodiversity conservation, considering the opportunity of different land use and vulcanic flow nd islands distance. Six plants chosen (Angelica lignescens, Lactuca watsoniana, Picconia azorica, Vaccinium cylindraceum, Isoetes azorica, Trichomanes speciosum) and the butterfly Hipparchia azorina represent distinct functional groups, with different populations structure and corridor demands. Genetic comparisons between nuclear and organellar (including NGS –Rad-seq technologies) will be used to examine the differences in gene flow between pollen and seeds. Lanscape and environmental analysis will allow to generate spatial input data (geological history, climate modelling, orography, land use, hydrology, and others) for the integrative analysis with the genetic data.
- EFRD (FEDER)
- Azores Government