Sampling strategies and geographic scale for capture of diversity and conservation of rare alleles
Ex situ conservation, through collection and storage of seed or cryogenic preservation of tissue cultures, is a very flexible tool and a good complement to in situ conservation. The vast majority of genetic diversity can be captured in relatively small in situ collections, however, rare alleles are much more challenging to comprehensively conserve. Populations in the core of a species range are likely to include high levels of genetic diversity, but peripheral or disjunct populations are more likely to contain alleles not found elsewhere. Dr. Gapare conducted his PhD research on how best to allocate resources for sampling for ex situ gene conservation using Sitka spruce as a model species. He found that core and peripheral populations have strikingly different within-population genetic structure that requires different sampling strategies to fully capture. He also found that sampling strategy is not that important in core, high density populations, but becomes critical in disjunct, peripheral populations.