PIRE 2010


Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Partnerships in International Research and Education
Udayana University, Denpasar, Indonesia
June 2010

The purpose of this intensive 2-week course is to explore the application of modern molecular genetic techniques in the study of the evolution and conservation of marine biodiversity in Indonesia. Students from Indonesia and the United States will be trained, side by side, increasing both scientific capacity and cultural understanding for both parties. The goal of this training is to build lasting collaboration among U.S. and Indonesian participants to facilitate the growth of marine research in Indonesia, a goal that is particularly important following the launch of the Coral Triangle Initiative.

The course will begin with a review of basic principles of molecular biology and genetics. We will then examine how molecular genetic tools are applied to questions of biogeography, dispersal, mating systems, biological diversity, speciation, and conservation genetics. The course will culminate with students designing and executing a molecular ecology research project, independently or in small groups. Results will be presented orally in a mini symposium at the conclusion of the course.

The theme of this year’s course is connectivity. Knowing patterns of larval dispersal is critical to managing marine ecosystems, but the small size of marine larvae typically prevents direct observation. Genetics can be used to infer patterns of dispersal, providing marine managers with valuable information. As a class, we will be examining patterns of connectivity in several species of coral reef fish and invertebrates across the heart of the Coral Triangle, the Indonesian Archipelago. We will examine whether physical oceanography of the Indonesian Archipelago affects patterns of larval dispersal throughout this region. Our work will be summarized for Conservation International and be used to help frame conservation policy in this region.

Instructors:    Dr. Paul Barber, UCLA
                        Dr. Michele Weber, UCLA

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