What genes can tell us about ecology and evolution
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Ecology is the study of the relationships of individual organisms to one another and to their physical environment and genes play a role in these relationships. I am basically an ecologist and my interests lie in answering ecological questions. Patterns of genetic variation reflect many ecological processes and I have become fascinated with the power of genetic techniques to address questions about ecology. In the past, many ecological questions have been addressed using conventional ecological techniques, but when genetic techniques have been applied to the same questions, the answers have often been extremely surprising. Tonight I am going to talk about how genes, or genetic markers, can be useful to ecologists. I am going to address four broad areas in which genetic markers are used in understanding questions about ecology and evolution and where I believe the use of genetic techniques has dramatically changed our understanding of processes. These are: mating systems, life-histories and dispersal patterns, microevolution and species and speciation. I will use examples from my own work and that of some of my students.
Australian School of Environmental Studies
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