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Brenton was recently invited to give a plenary talk at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Mammal Society.

Mammal declines across northern Australia are one of the major biodiversity crises occurring globally. There has been no assessment of the implications of these species declines for intraspecific genetic or phenotypic diversity. Recently, I have been investigating population genetic patterns in several mammal species and attempting to quantify how the loss of intraspecific diversity can be mitigated. By mapping patterns of genetic diversity within and among populations, and investigating these patterns in the context of population declines, we can provide conservation managers with data critical to informed decision-making. This includes the identification of populations that are candidates for genetic management, the importance of remnant island and insurance/translocated populations for the conservation of genetic diversity, and the characterisation of putative evolutionarily significant units. With much of Australia’s conservation management relying on island havens to conserve threatened species, it is critical that we evaluate the merit and uses of islands in the conservation of intraspecific diversity. Islands play a strongly disproportionate role in the evolution and extinction of life on Earth, and island populations exhibit markedly reduced diversity and divergent gene frequencies from mainland populations, meaning that we need to use island populations with care.

Mammals on islands!