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iBioGen: Towards a methodological harmonisation in Island Biodiversity Genomics

18 Jun 2021 - Anna Papadopoulou, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus |15h30
iBioGen: Towards a methodological harmonisation in Island Biodiversity Genomics

Genomic technologies have enormous potential for establishing efficient biodiversity monitoring of island communities, in an effort to mitigate the impacts of global change and the spread of invasive species. At the same time, the analysis of island communities under the framework of biodiversity genomics allows to integrate insights from ecological and evolutionary theory, towards a better understanding of island biodiversity dynamics across space and time. However, such a synthesis of biodiversity genomics is currently delayed by insufficient coordination among empirical biologists, bioinformaticians and theoreticians and by lack of standardization of methodologies, which complicates comparisons among genomic datasets from different island systems. I will present iBioGen ("Twinning for European Excellence in Island Biodiversity Genomics”;, an EU-funded consortium led by the University of Cyprus, which brings together experts in genomic technologies, island biodiversity and theoretical modelling research in order to: (i) promote protocol harmonisation and efficient integration of ecological field survey methodologies and genomic pipelines; (ii) establish a network of Genomic Observatories for long-term monitoring of European island biodiversity; (iii) enhance a methodological and theoretical synthesis of biodiversity genomics, with a special focus on island biodiversity theory; and (iv) promote the field of biodiversity genomics on the island of Cyprus. I will also present a pilot study developed under the umbrella of iBioGen, which employs harmonized protocols for community metabarcoding to characterize for first time the soil micro-arthropod assemblages of the Troodos mountain range in Cyprus, an isolated montane region of high topographic complexity and environmental heterogeneity, harbouring unique Mediterranean forest habitats. Apart from elucidating soil biodiversity dynamics in those poorly studied and highly vulnerable Mediterranean forests, this system can provide insights into the utility of high-resolution community metabarcoding for disentangling the drivers of metacommunity structure across mountainous regions and complex landscapes.

Anna Papadopoulou is an Assistant Professor at the University of Cyprus, Department of Biological Sciences (Molecular Ecology and Evolution lab: She has a Ph.D. from Imperial College London (UK) and she has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan (US) and the CSIC (Spain). Her research focuses on the use of molecular genetics and genomic tools for the study of island biodiversity. She combines microevolutionary (phylogeography and population genetics) with a macroecological perspective to understand the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity in island systems. She also applies high-throughput DNA-based methodologies for large-scale biodiversity assessment and community ecology. She is currently coordinating iBioGen, a Horizon 2020 Twinning project on Island Biodiversity Genomics ( 

[Host: Raquel Vasconcelos, Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Management - CONGEN]

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