What We’re Reading- Sept 15, 2017

If You Sing It, They Will Come (and Occupy New Habitat Patches) One of the biggest threats to species are small isolated habitat patches, where species can be extirpated (i.e. go locally extinct) from any patch.  The endangered Kirkland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) lives in these types of patchy pine forests near the Great Lakes in…

What We’re Reading- April 28, 2017

Next-Generation Microsatellites What if conservation’s favorite marker (the microsatellite) could be sequenced and genotyped from next-generation data?  This paper (sub) is the latest showing that possibility and specifically introduces a genotyping and phasing tool: HipSTR.  Microsatellites have propelled much of conservation genetics and users are familiar with data analysis and interpretation of results.  As next-generation…

What We’re Reading- Dec 2, 2016

Birds of Differentially Colored Feathers Still Flock Together Yellow-winged warblers (left in picture) are threatened with extinction in Canada under SARA, and a candidate species for the ESA in the United States. Hybridization with the more widely distributed blue-winged warbler (right in picture) is considered a threat to the species. This paper (open) compared genomic…

Behind the paper: using DNA to define conservation units for endangered dragons

This week, we have a new paper published online in the journal Conservation Genetics, with former Honours student Emma Carlson as lead author. The paper is titled “How many conservation units are there for the endangered grassland earless dragons?” Yes, that’s right, dragons! But not the fire-breathing sort. The grassland earless dragon (Tympanocyrptis pinguicolla) is a…

Behind the Paper: Spatial Assignment Not as Accurate as Promised

Imagine that you are an airport security screener in charge of searching for and identifying wildlife products and you came across 100 bear paws. Trade of all eight bear species is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and trade of severed paws is illegal. There are a number of questions…

Behind the Paper: Are Microsatellite Studies Publishable?

This is not a true “Behind the Paper” post. Why? Because I cannot write a behind the paper post when I cannot publish a paper*. How did I get to the point of writing an unpublishable paper; well, I genotyped with microsatellites. After submitting my paper I received a number of kind reviews that said…

What we’re reading- Dec 20, 2013

Got microsats? A new paper (open) on developing microsatellite primers using Illumina sequencing. Plus, it comes out of a pretty great lab! (Congrats Schyler!) Protecting amphibians Preserving pond-breeding salamander populations may require larger terrestrial habitat than previously thought. The early rodent becomes the cat food Agoutis with less food, wake early, and are more vulnerable…