RBGE continues to make an international contribution to molecular ecology research linked to conservation. Our research examines genetic adaptation to climate change leading to possible mitigation of its effects.
Bluebells: Our research on the ecology of native and non-native bluebells examines the competitive performance of different species along climatic gradients. The study aims to broaden the debate from a single species-response to climate change to a greater understanding of species interactions. It also provides an important practical assessment of the effects of climate change on threatened native and non-native species.
Gene Flow and adaptation: Existing molecular studies use data to examine the potential of species to adapt to environmental change through natural selection. Populations can potentially acquire adaptive genetic variation from other populations, introduced either artificially or naturally. Molecular studies can examine the dispersal ability of species which will estimate their potential to migrate through patchy or fragmented habitats in response to changed climate. Recently such studies have focussed on conservation priority species. The current programme is examining diversity in species of Scotland's Caledonian pinewoods in collaboration with the Macaulay Institute and Scottish Crops Research Institute. This addresses the amount of climate-related genetic variation and the in situ adaptive capacity of species, i.e. can adaptive variation relevant to contrasting climates be dispersed across a species' range?