Biodiversity and global environmental change

*Photo courtesy of Jacques de Speville

Loss of natural habitat and outbreaks of novel pathogens have dramatic consequences on ecosystems worldwide. Climate change is leading to novel weather patterns, extreme weather events and dramatic variation in rainfall and temperatures. What exactly will be the impact of these changes on biodiversity? ELSA is providing the opportunity for researchers across the NRP to work synergistically to understand the molecular basis of adaptation, study the conservation genomics of threatened species, and analyse the ecological impacts of a changing environment.

Central to the Biodiversity and Adaptation theme is a comprehensive understanding of evolutionary and ecological changes in response to environmental stressors. Advanced genomic technologies and computer modelling approaches are being used to gain a deeper understanding of how animals, plants and microbes adapt to their environment at the genomic and molecular levels. Across the NRP, researchers from the UEA, JIC, TSL and the EI collaborate to study genetic and epigenetic evolution of plant pathogens and plant resistance genes, conservation genomics of threatened bird species, and the outbreak of emerging infectious diseases in plants, animals and humans.

Linking the precise drivers of genetic and epigenetic adaptive variation with large scale consequences is a challenging goal that ELSA is uniquely placed to embrace. World-class research capacity in population genetics, genomics and population dynamics feeds directly into our understanding of the impacts of human intervention and climate change on biodiversity, as well as the impact of emerging infectious diseases.