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UA Science Café: Using Conservation Genomics to Inform the Reintroduction of Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs

Presentation Title: “Blood, tissue, hides and bones: Using Conservation Genomics to Inform the Reintroduction of Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs”

Presenter: Alex Erwin, Ph.D. Student, Genetics
                   2017 Carson Scholar, Institute of the Environment Fellow

Scientists can now use DNA from wild animal populations to help manage rare or threatened species for future persistence.  I will explain just how conservation geneticists like myself go from taking samples in the field to producing data to inform management and policy.  I will specifically use my work with black-tailed prairie dogs as an example.  I use blood, tissue, hair, bones, and even 19th century hides to extract black-tailed prairie dog DNA.  By extracting and sequencing portions of this DNA, we are informing managers how best to proceed with the reintroduction of the black-tailed prairie dog back into Arizona.  Black-tailed prairie dogs are keystone species that maintain grasslands and provide habitat for a myriad of other species.

Alex’s talk is part of the Fall 2017 Borderlands Brewing Co. Science Café Series: Aquifers to Zika: Biotic and Abiotic Issues in Conservation. Environmental conservation encompasses a wide range of concerns, from preventing epidemics to establishing sustainable water sources, from animal conservation to predicting climate change. This series brings together four Carson Scholars exploring how genomics, entomology, photovoltaics, and citizen science can be used to address the wide breadth of environmental challenges that our world faces today.

The UA Science Café Series is brought to you by the University of Arizona College of Science. Science Cafés bring the community together with UA scientists and graduate students in a casual setting. You’ll learn about the latest research being conducted, get to know the faces behind the science, and have opportunities to ask questions and deepen your understanding. There are four separate café series at four different locations around Tucson, each with their own themes for fascinating science discussions. Come join the conversation!

     Borderlands Brewing Co.
     119 E. Toole Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 6:00pm

Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701