For 2 weeks this month, Austin Koontz, one of our research assistants in the Hoban Tree Conservation Biology lab, virtually attended the annual ConGenconservation genomic data analysis workshop, hosted by a global team of applied conservation researchers. The workshop focuses on theoretical and practical aspects of conservation genetics, and is attended by participants from around the world. Austin received training in genetic sequence analysis (e.g. RADseq, target sequence capture), simulations, and genotype-environment associations, among others. These techniques will help evaluate the ability of rare plants to adapt in a changing environment.
Sean Hoban completed his participation in the most recent meeting of policy makers and stakeholders for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Representatives of all 196 member countries (Parties to the Convention), plus dozens of non-governmental organizations worked to negotiate text (and Targets) for the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Sean represented the organization GEO BON in numerous half-day negotiation meetings over 2 weeks; made a short oral statement to all delegates on the role of genetic diversity in conservation; and worked with partners in South Africa, Sweden and USA to propose additional detail on genetic diversity for Target 4 on species conservation. This was not the final CBD meeting (two more occur in 2022), but was a major culmination of two+ years work and a big success!
Sean Hoban attended a workshop at the University of Vermont on red spruce (Picea rubens) conservation and restoration. Red spruce occurs in New England, Quebec, and the Canadian Maritimes - where it is common and abundant - and Central and Southern Appalachian Mountains - where it is highly fragmented on mountain peaks. The workshop focused on translating research to action plans regarding climate change and degree of local adaptation, and how seed should be sampled and used for restoration - including genetic rescue and assisted migration. Sean shared his experience with Fraxinus seed sampling and conservation efforts. The workshop was led by PIs on a finishing NSF grant, Matt Fitzpatrick and Stephen Keller. The attendees included academics as well as local and national conservation NGOs (e.g. CASRI).