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Conservation Genomics

One of the primary strengths of La Kretz Center researchers is the intersection of conservation biology and cutting-edge genomic science. We actively fund projects that bring together academics, resource and land policy professionals, and regulatory experts to optimally use the power of genomics in the conservation of California’s threatened and exploited species. In partnership with the UCLA Grand Challenges program, we have launched the California Conservation Genomics Initiative. In addition, we continue to fund researchers as they quantify the distribution of genetic variation that is critical for adaptation and species resilience in the face of climate change, habitat fragmentation, and other challenges faced by declining species.


luke browne

Valley Oak Conservation in a Changing Climate

Rapidly changing climate in California and around the world has the potential to cause a mismatch between the environmental conditions that plants are adapted to and the environmental conditions they will face in the future, which threatens the viability of many plant populations. Working with the California endemic species Valley oak (Quercus lobata), La Kretz...


Adaptational lag to temperature in valley oak (Quercus lobata) can be mitigated by genome-informed assisted gene flow

Luke Browne, Jessica W. Wright, Sorel Fitz-Gibbon,Paul F. Gugger, and Victoria L. Sork

Published Work | 2019 | PNAS December 10, 2019 116 (50) 25179-25185

Landscape genomic signatures indicate reduced gene flow and forest-associated adaptive divergence in an endangered neotropical turtle

Gallego-Garcia, N., G. Forero-Medina, M. Vargas-Ramirez, S. Caballero, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2019 | Molecular Ecology 28:2757–2771

Genomic data recover previously undetectable fragmentation effects in an endangered amphibian

McCartney-Melstad, E., J. K. Vu, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2018 | Molecular Ecology 27:4430-4443

Desert tortoises in the genomic age: population genomics and the landscape

Shaffer HB, McCartney-Melstad E, Ralph P, Bradburd G, Lundgren E, Vu J, Hagerty B, Sandmeier F, Weitzman C, Tracy CR.

Published Work | 2017 |

Exon capture optimization in amphibians with large genomes

E. McCartney-Melstad, G. G. Mount, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2016 | Molecular Ecology Resources 16:1084-1094

Hybridization and endangered species protection in the molecular era

R.K. Wayne and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2016 | Molecular Ecology 25:280-289

Amphibian molecular ecology and how it has informed conservation

E. McCartney-Melstad and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2015 | Molecular Ecology 24:5084-5109

Desert Tortoises in the Genomic Age: Population Genetics and the Landscape

H. B. Shaffer, E. McCartney-Melstad, P. Ralph, G. Bradburd, E. Lundgren, J. Vu, B. Hagerty, F. Sandmeier, C. Weitzman, R. Tracy

Progress Report | 2015

Conservation genetics and genomics of amphibians and reptiles

H. B. Shaffer, M, Gidiş E. McCartney-Melstad, K. M. Neal, H. M. Oyamaguchi, M. Tellez, and E. M. Toffelmier

Published Work | 2015 | Annual Reviews of Animal Biosciences 3:113-138

The advantages of going large: genome-wide SNPs clarify the complex population history and systematics of the threatened western pond turtle

P.Q. Spinks, R. C. Thomson, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2014 | Molecular Ecology 23:2228-2241

Genomics in ecology, evolution and systematics

H. B. Shaffer and M. D. Purugganan

Published Work | 2013 | Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 44:1-4