Incorporating landscape genetics into road ecology

Paul Sunnucks, Niko Balkenhol

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Many investigative challenges in road ecology can be addressed by analyses that incorporate genetic data. However, genetic approaches in road ecology are underutilised, partially due to insufficient communication between researchers and stakeholders about the strong applicability, efficiency and cost effectiveness of genetic data for addressing key issues in ecological management. Here, we outline some of the strengths of genetics and summarise important data types and analytical methods. We use the term `landscape genetics? as a catch-all for the application of genetic techniques in road ecology. 1 Landscape genetics is effective in evaluating the barrier effects of roads and their influence on population persistence. 2 Patterns of genetic variation in individuals and populations can be used to estimate biological processes that are highly relevant for road ecologists. 3 The power of landscape genetics in road-related research can be optimised by choice of study design and sampling protocol. 4 Landscape genetics is cost effective and available by collaboration with suitable providers. Through these four points, we seek to encourage much greater consideration of genetic approaches for understanding and mitigating the ecological impacts of transportation infrastructure. Genetic approaches have repeatedly been shown to be valuable in these contexts, and they are constantly improving. Thus, their appropriate application should lead to substantial benefits for practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Road Ecology
EditorsRodney van der Ree, Daniel J Smith, Clara Grilo
Place of PublicationChichester West Sussex UK
Pages110 - 118
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781118568187
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this

Sunnucks, P., & Balkenhol, N. (2015). Incorporating landscape genetics into road ecology. In R. van der Ree, D. J. Smith, & C. Grilo (Eds.), Handbook of Road Ecology (pp. 110 - 118). Chichester West Sussex UK: Wiley-Blackwell.