Molecular ecology views: It's a bird, it's a plane … it's a UAV

From the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG) – Landscape Genetics Group – at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Stephane Joost sends along his view of molecular ecology—from high altitude. Joost’s group applies geographic information systems (GIS) in conservation and landscape genetics. He’s sent photos of an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, used to collect Very High Resolution Digital Elevation Models, which have a spatial resolution of 50cm!

On the basis of this VHR DEM we derive environmental variables (solar radiation, wetness indices, etc.). These variables are then used in models to assess their association level with the frequency of AFLP markers (landscape genomics), to identify genomic regions possibly under natural selection.
Here our goal is to discover which genes are underlying local adaptation to differential radiation regimes in the Buckler Mustard, and what is their genetic architecture.

If you have photos of your own molecular ecology in action that you’d like to share, please send them our way!
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About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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