Pilot study for montioring of genetic diversity

The pilot study for monitoring genetic diversity in Switzerland will test in a 3-year project (2020 – 2023) the feasibility of a possible future monitoring of the genetic diversity of plant, fungal and animal species in Switzerland.

The project is supported by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and is carried out by the Chair of Plant Ecological Genetics of the Department of Environmental Systems Sciences at the ETH Zurich in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).

News

  • Publication: Bringing together approaches to reporting on within species genetic diversity
    In the new article in the Journal of Applied Ecology, our pilot study for a monitoring of genetic diversity has been compared with and related to other approaches to reporting on within species genetic diversity. The publication shows the international importance of a monitoring of genetic diversity. The publication is available via this link in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
  • Supplementary sampling 2022
    After the largely successful sampling of all five selected species in 2021, the missing false heath fritillary, Melitaea diamina, populations will be sampled this year. In addition, 200 contemporary populations of Hare’s-tail cottongrass, Eriophorum vaginatum, will be sampled for retrospective monitoring of genetic diversity. Where possible, these will be collected from similar places as the …
  • Results sampling 2021
    Sampling of the five species was fairly successful despite a wet and cold spring and a gloomy summer. At the beginning of April 2021, the teams of the Swiss Ornithological Institute started sampling the Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella). They sampled about 120 bird over a two-month period. The anticipated number of 150 samples was not reached …
  • Stakeholder manuscript published
    The Swiss-wide stakeholder survey, which was conducted as part of the feasibility study for a genetic diversity monitoring, has now been published in the journal Conservation Genetics! The paper is publicly accessible via this link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10592-021-01379-6
  • Retrospective Analyses
    For the retrospective analysis, more than 700 voucher specimens were found for the Hare’s-tail cottongrass and more than 1,000 for the False heath fritillary in collections in Switzerland – from Geneva to Basel. Where not already done, each specimen was entered into a database and the location was recorded and georeferenced using the original label. …
  • Sampling has started
    The fieldwork season began this spring. The teams of the Swiss Ornithological Institute started earliest at the beginning of April in Ticino and Graubünden. Since then, 117 yellowhammers have been caught, sampled and released throughout Switzerland. Breeding calls of natterjack toads began at the end of April, a sign for which the staff of the …
  • Assembly of reference genomes
    High-molecular DNA is extracted from samples of a single individual of each of the five species, and the entire genome is sequenced using the latest “long read sequencing method” (PacBio Sequel II; HiFi reads). These long DNA fragments are necessary so that the whole genome can be assembled as accurately and completely as possible. The …
  • Update May 2021, Retrospective Analyses
    Historical genetic diversity will be investigated for the Hare’s-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) and the Valerian Fritillary (Melitaea diamina). For this purpose, we have reached out to numerous museums and herbaria about whether their collections contain specimens of these two species that are at least 50 years old. We found 767 vouchers of the Hare’s-tail cottongrass and about 1’400 vouchers …
  • Update December 2020
    The tissue samples for creating the reference genomes of the five species have arrived in the laboratory. The reference genome contains the entire hereditary information of an individual (DNA). It is needed to later visualise the genetic differences between different individuals of a species. In the laboratory, different extraction methods are currently being tested for …