Together for Biodiversity

Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Management - CONGEN

 
     
   

GROUP DESCRIPTION


   
Group Description
 

The main focus of the CONGEN Group is the conservation and management of species, populations and ecosystems. To achieve this main goal, the group has developed activities in four main themes: multi-scale ecology; production of tools for conservation; applied ecology and conservation; and outreach activities aimed at the promotion of sustainable human activities. 

 

MULTI-SCALE ECOLOGY: integrative studies on the dynamics of species, populations and communities.

This theme includes research on ecology, behavior, emerging diseases, biogeography, genetic diversity and evolutionary population history in mammals, birds, reptiles and terrestrial invertebrates from Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

 

PRODUCTION OF TOOLS FOR CONSERVATION: development of methodologies for populations’ management.

This implies optimizing standardized monitoring protocols and non-invasive methods to support conservation and management actions of wild populations, improving biodiversity surveys on natural areas, detecting human-mediated hybridization between wilds and domestics or invader species, or estimating population sizes.

 

APPLIED ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION: applying multidisciplinary approaches for the management and conservation of wildlife, including small populations, threatened species, endemisms and game species.

This is clearly one of the most important subjects within the scope of this group. A wide variety of subjects have been addressed, resulting in very prolific outputs and direct influence on species conservation and management. By applying molecular, morphometric, ecological and modeling methods we evaluate the genetic diversity and connectivity of populations (e.g. Azores bullfinch, bats in Iberia, sloths in Brazil), describe the geographical pattern of species’ genetic diversity and its relationship with environmental factors (e.g. birds, bats and hares in Europe and small Islands), assess the hybridization between wild species and their domestic counterparts (wildcat, wolf), among other studies. Additional focus was put on studies regarding human activities and the viability of wildlife populations by studying game species, or the factors that influence population persistence in humanized landscapes and the impact of human infrastructures (e.g. large carnivore conservation in NW Iberia). As one of the greatest concerns in conservation biology included in the political agenda, the impact of climate change on biodiversity was also within the scope of a number of studies covering a wide variety of taxa (e.g. bats, birds, lagomorphs) and geographical contexts (e.g. Europe, Middle East).

 

OUTREACH ACTIVITIES: transfer of skills to the society and gathering of knowledge for the promotion of sustainable human activities.

Due to the deep engagement of this group in species conservation and management, it is not surprising that several outputs and research members have been actively producing information for managers, policy makers and stakeholders of different sectors of the society. This is been achieved through consultancy for public institutions (e.g. ICNF - Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, Regional Agriculture services), NGOs (e.g. FAPAS, LPN), private companies (e.g. wind farm promoters, EDIA) and international institutions (IUCN). We also provide a variety of services to the community through contracts and protocols established with enterprises and other public and private entities, mainly through environmental consultancy and planning. In addition, we are involved in several outreach activities to transfer acquired knowledge to other sectors of the society through workshops (e.g., bat acoustic identification), environmental education (talks, production of outreach materials) and frequent media appearances.


 
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