Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ProtectingBioFaCCts Result In Brief

Project reference: 293886
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Germany

New framework conserves intraspecific variation

Biological variation enables species to adapt to an altered natural environment. This invaluable form of biodiversity can now be better protected thanks to the efforts of an EU-funded initiative.
New framework conserves intraspecific variation
Changes to the landscape through human activities cause the fragmentation of natural habitats. The result is that many species are unable to shift their ranges in the face of climate change and must adapt to altered conditions. To maximise their chances of doing so requires biological variation within a species (intraspecific variation), which urgently needs to be conserved.

The PROTECTINGBIOFACCTS (Protecting biodiversity in the face of climate change) project has developed a conservation prioritisation framework. The framework incorporates intraspecific with more traditionally used methods for identifying areas that require protection.

The framework will be tested with respect to different areas of the world that harbour a variety of landscapes, habitats and levels of human disturbance, ranging from the small to the large scale. In addition, genetic and morphological data will be collected from species from Bulgaria, Cameroon and Romania.

A newly developed spatial modelling technique will be used to map intraspecific variation and identify areas where this variation can be protected most efficiently. Existing spatial modelling techniques will be enhanced to improve the use of data concerning rare species in order to identify the effects of local habitat conditions on specific parts in the genome.

Thousands of individual plants and animals have already been sampled and genetically typed. Results indicate that the framework is useful for conservation planning in a variety of landscapes at scales ranging from hundreds of square kilometres to an area the size of Cameroon and Gabon combined.

Collected data will be used to further test the prioritisation framework and improve conservation efforts in the study areas. It will also help to provide answers to fundamental questions concerning the ecology and evolution of species in these areas.

PROTECTINGBIOFACCTS will produce maps of areas with high levels of intraspecific variation. It will also provide a better understanding of the relationship between biotic and abiotic variation. Moreover, it will greatly enhance the implementation of the developed framework in the area of conservation prioritisation together with recommendations for its use.

Related information


Intraspecific variation, biodiversity, conservation, ecology, evolution
Record Number: 175010 / Last updated on: 2016-01-28
Domain: Environment