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Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Modern and Past Elephant DivErsity

Description du projet

Les éléphants d’Afrique sous le microscope génétique de l’évolution

Les éléphants d’Afrique sont une espèce menacée et qualifiée de «vulnérable» sur la liste rouge de l’Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature. Ces animaux se trouvent également au cœur du projet STAMPEDE, financé par l’UE. Afin d’étudier la génétique de conservation des populations menacées d’extinction, le projet va créer une source unique d’informations génétiques sur les éléphants d’Afrique d’hier et d’aujourd’hui. Il va générer des données génomiques à faible profondeur pour 500 éléphants d’Afrique. Ces données seront utilisées à des fins d’analyse de la diversité génétique d’aujourd’hui. Elles permettront également d’identifier l’origine de l’ivoire millénaire retrouvé sur l’épave de Bajo de la Campana aux abords de la côte ibérique, qui remonte à environ 600-500 avant J.-C. Cet ivoire proviendrait vraisemblablement d’Afrique du Nord et aurait appartenu à des éléphants très probablement utilisés au cours des guerres puniques.

Objectif

The proposed project aims to investigate novel ways of bridging the study of evolutionary history of extinct populations with the study of conservation genetics of populations threatened by extinction. I plan to use a multidimensional approach by studying populations across time, space, and scientific fields. Combining the spatio-temporal and cross-disciplinary aspects, I plan to create a unique source of genetic information about African elephants in the past and present. I will do this by generating low-depth genomic data for 500 African elephants from across the current range, which will be used for analyses of present-day genetic diversity and connectivity. In addition, this genomic catalogue will be used to identify the provenance of ancient ivory from the Bajo de la Campana shipwreck that sank near the Iberian coast ~600-500 BCE. This ivory is assumed to have originated in North Africa, and thus, represents a rare opportunity to generate first data of an extinct population of elephants. These were likely the elephants that were used as war elephants during the Punic Wars, but there is an ongoing discussion about which species they belonged to. Using ancient DNA techniques to recover DNA from the shipwreck ivory, I will test if they represent a genetically distinct lineage or show affinity to any of the modern populations. Although the goals of this project are ambitious, all pieces required for its successful realization are already in place, including a network of collaborators providing access to samples, expertise of the supervisor and host institute in conservation projects and bioinformatics, and my expertise in palaeogenomics and conservation genomics. The findings of this project have the potential to yield important scientific achievements and serve as a valuable resource for conservation management, while I will be able to use the acquired experience and training to profile myself as an independent research leader.

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Coordinateur

KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 219 312,00
Adresse
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn
Danemark

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Région
Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Type d’activité
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Liens
Autres sources de financement
€ 0,00