Working Group Roundup: Conservation Genetics

Understanding the experiences and perception of conservation practitioners towards genetics

The aim of the SCB Conservation Genetics Working Group (CGWG) is to promote the incorporation of genetic studies into the wider field of conservation. To do this, we need to understand conservation practitioner experiences and perceptions about the use of genetics in conservation. As a first step, we conducted an online survey late last year.  

We were interested in learning how genetics is being used in conservation. For example, what questions can genetics help answer and how is it applied in practice? What resources are necessary to obtain genetic data and who are conservation managers working with?

The responses to these and other key questions are currently being analysed, but there is a general understanding among conservation practitioners about the important role of genetics in conservation, however the questions they would like to see answered are more practical than academics often like to address!

Incorporating local adaptation into conservation: connecting science to practice

The CGWG is excited to be sponsoring a symposium at the 4th North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Toronto 21-26 July. The Congress theme is 'Conservation Science, Policy, and Practice: Connecting the Urban to the Wild', a fitting platform for our symposium: "Incorporating local adaptation into conservation: connecting science to practice”. Topics include:

  • Application of local adaptation to conservation
  • The importance of variation (genetic and phenotypic!) in conservation
  • Assisted migration and genetic rescue
  • Adaptation to urban environments
  • Local adaptation and climate change
  • Science communication within and outside of academia

We are pleased to confirm speakers include: Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton (University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow), Cinnamon Mittan (Cornell University, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Dr. Sarah Fitzpatrick (Michigan State University, Kellogg Biological Station), Dr. Jessica Hellmann (University of Minnesota, Director of the Institute of Environment), Dr. Erik Beever (U.S. Geological Survey, Research Ecologist).

The CGWG will also be hosting a happy hour! If you want to learn about the group and get to know a few of our members, keep an eye of social media for more details!

Seeking Early Career Conservationist Award nominations

The CGWG is hosting an Early Career Conservationist Award, to be presented at NACCB. Nominations are open to early career (no more than 10 years since leaving school) global conservationists whose contributions reflect the principles of the CGWG. For details visit SCB 2018 Service Awards Nominations – nominations are due 15th March 2018. The award will be used to support travel to this years’ NACCB.

Promoting use of genetic tools with conservation practitioners

Would you like to get more involved in the CGWG? There’s a great range of volunteer opportunities with our various committees including the Education and Events Committee, which is tasked with developing resource materials and conduct activities to foster the use of genetic tools by conservation practitioners. The committee is currently seeking volunteer support for the curation of ‘Genetics Q&As’ on Facebook. Interested? – contact us on

Connect with our community

You can join the growing SCB CGWG community via TwitterFacebookEmail group !