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Methodologies for conservation assessments of the genetic biodiversity of aquatic macro-organisms

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Author(s): BERT T. M. | SEYOUM S. | TRINGALI M. D. | McMILLEN-JACKSON A.

Journal: Brazilian Journal of Biology
ISSN 1519-6984

Volume: 62;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 387;
Date: 2002;
Original page

Keywords: aquatic | biodiversity | conservation | fish | genetics | phylogenetics | populations

ABSTRACT
International organizations and biodiversity scientists recognize three levels of biodiversity: genetic, species, and ecosystem. However, most studies with the goal of assessing biodiversity collect data at only a single level -- that of the species. Even when multiple levels of biodiversity are considered, usually only ecosystem diversity is also evaluated. Genetic diversity is virtually never considered. Yet, genetic diversity is essential for the maintenance of populations and species over ecological and evolutionary time periods. Moreover, because components of genetic diversity are independent of either species or ecosystem diversity, genetic diversity can provide a unique measure by which to assess the value of regions for conservation. Regions can be valuable for conservation of their genetic resources regardless of their levels of species or ecosystem uniqueness or diversity. In general, the same methods and statistical programs that are used to answer questions about population genetics and phylogenetics are applicable to conservation genetics. Thus, numerous genetic techniques, laboratory methods, and statistical programs are available for assessing regional levels of genetic diversity for conservation considerations. Here, we provide the rationale, techniques available, field and laboratory protocols, and statistical programs that can be used to estimate the magnitude and type of genetic diversity in regions. We also provide information on how to obtain commonly utilized statistical programs and the type of analyses that they include. The guide that we present here can be used to conduct investigations of the genetic diversity of regions under consideration for conservation of their natural resources.
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