- You integrate molecular genetics and demography in order to predict population resistance and viability under different environmental scenarios.
- You understand which processes contribute to adaptation in a changing environment in an eco-evolutionary context.
- You understand and apply the basic micro-evolutionary principles on processes at the population level.
- You interpret the biological meaning of molecular population data for short and long term population dynamics
- You understand and apply the basic methodology of population projection models (both matrix models and integral projection models).
- You interpret the biological meaning of projection model output variables, and analyze their coherence.
- You have a good overview of the applications of projection models, i.e. the kinds of fundamental questions in ecological research and the problems in applied research, that may be addressed by these models.
Increasingly populations of wild plants and animals are under threat. It is difficult to predict to what extent wild populations can adapt to altered selection pressures in the face of human-induced global change. Viability of populations depends on population dynamics, the potential of populations to adapt to new conditions and on molecular population characteristics. These different processes are highly integrated and determine in concert whether populations can adapt to the constantly changing conditions or will go extinct. This course, which is positioned on the interface of different scientific disciplines will give an integrated picture of mechanisms and process contributing to population viability by dealing with the different aspects, both in theory and in hands-on greenhouse, lab and computer projects.
Understanding the mechanisms regulating population dynamics from an evolutionary and demographic perspective is essential for predicting naturally occurring but also man made changes in population composition and stability on the short and long term. Recent developments in molecular biology and data-analyses provided researchers with new tools which are applied in fields ranging from evolutionary ecology to conservation genetics. The course will build on and deepen previously acquired knowledge about population dynamics and quantitative genetics and the basic processes determining population development. This knowledge will be expanded and supplemented with demographic modelling in the context of small populations.