This project integrates genetic diversity, conservation planning, ex situ population management, and conservation collaboration. The project team employs a variety of tools, including GIS tools, large biodiversity datasets, demographic and genetic models, and computer programming.
The project is actually the sum of several smaller project stages, all aimed at improving the conservation value of the trees in the collection—specifically to ensure that enough genetic variation is retained in the collections to ensure species survival. The first stage will assess how well gardens have already preserved these species, and how much more they might need to sample. That will be followed by testing the hypothesis that different sampling strategies are needed to preserve genetic diversity in different species and genera. Simulations will be used to test different sampling strategies applied to species with different traits, including simulations of IUCN Red Listed oaks.
The results of this set of projects will help develop new guidelines for sampling for conservation—including the number of seeds and populations to collect. This will, in turn, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of ex situ conservation.