Figure 1. Blood samples are collected from a Peregrine Falcon chick for biological records

Genetic Sampling

What is Genetic Sampling? Through the collection of biological material such as blood, hair, feathers, or scat, natural resource professionals and scientists can effectively build a database to estimate genetic diversity, population structure, and demographic history (Supple and Shapiro, 2018). Scientists can track individual animals, families, and populations, yielding insights to phenomena such as hybridization, genetic relatedness, and geographic distribution. Solutions to genetic issues including genetic bottlenecking and resulting problems from inbreeding can also be pursued. For example, a recent study by McCartney‐Melstad et al. (2018) described the problem that human development and change happens much more rapidly than genetic accumulation can adapt. In the study, a look at the genome of the endangered eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) in Long Island, New York revealed an apparent lack of genetic variation resulting from genetic fragmentation. Geographic distance and the presence of roads between breeding ponds were considered a major contribution to the restriction of genetic variation (McCartney‐Melstad et al (2018). Genetic variation is very important to the health of wildlife populations because it allows the gene pool to be more diverse. Genetic diversity allows for a range of  tolerances to abiotic and biotic factors such as predator avoidance or the ability to survive in fluctuating temperatures. These variations allow a population to persist when confronted with unforeseen environmental pressures; especially important for endangered or threatened species.   

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