Genetic map of European butterflies: Continental-s.. (EUGENMAP)
Genetic map of European butterflies: Continental-scale cryptic species assessment and comparisons to North America and Australia
Start date: May 1, 2014,
End date: Apr 30, 2017
"There is a widely recognized need for more comprehensive understanding of patterns of global biodiversity. Such information will not only address major scientific issues, such as the factors influencing rates of speciation, but it will also add new rigor to conservation programs (a critical need given the looming extinction crisis). This project exploits the power of DNA barcoding to deliver a synoptic overview of biodiversity patterns, and focuses this analysis on butterflies as a model system because they are the most intensively studied invertebrate group in the world. Despite its capacity to contribute important insights into biodiversity, prior work on European butterflies has been restricted to investigations on single nations. The EUGENMAP project raises the scale of analysis to a continent; it will assemble a comprehensive DNA barcode reference library for all European butterflies. This work will provide unprecedented insights into patterns of genetic diversity in European butterflies, revealing cryptic taxa and factors influencing the levels of geographic differentiation in single species. DNA barcode data will be tactically supplemented with nuclear markers obtained with next generation sequencers and advanced morphometrics to obtain more detailed perspectives in cases where this is justified. Furthermore, EUGENMAP will place the results for the European fauna in a broader context by comparing them with parallel investigations on the North American and Australian faunas. This analysis will provide a near global perspective on important biological questions such as the incidence and distribution of cryptic diversity, and the effects of past climatic changes on the diversification dynamics of organisms. Through its modern, multidisciplinary, and large-scale research approach, the EUGENMAP project will represent a major advance in the global study of biodiversity and a model for implementation on other taxonomic groups."
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