Conservation genetics and ex situ management of Oglethope oak
The primary objectives of my master's thesis research are to compare the in situ and ex situ diversity of Quercus oglethorpensis (Oglethope oak) using neutral microsatellite markers, and to trial population management software (PMX) for applications in plant conservation, or more specifically, compare the effects of different ex situ management decisions on genetic diversity (GD) and inbreeding (F) as proxies for reintroduction potential. PMX may allow conservation planners to more easily interpret genetic and demographic data, and then incorporate that data into an actionable species conservation plans. If the software is adopted across multiple botanic gardens it would facilitate efficient and effective multi-site management of ex situ conservation collections.
The intern will have an opportunity to build on our current investigation of Quercus oglethorpensis using genetic tools and novel applications of population management software. A potential to extend the study beyond Q. oglethopensis may exist depending on interest and time.