Laura is interested in how the rapidly developing field of genetics can contribute to the field of conservation biology. During her PhD-research she applied various genetic techniques to gain insight into the distribution of genetic diversity in the lion. These data provide a rational basis for prioritising populations for conservation efforts, but also give insight into evolutionary drivers which may have contributed to the current genetic make-up. This type of data can contribute to defining management strategies, both for in situ conservation and for breeding of captive stocks.
Laura has explored different sources of DNA e.g. by non-invasively collecting hair and scat samples and by using ancient DNA approaches for specimens in natural history collections. Analogue to this, she also worked on a project on environmental DNA, in which we used DNA isolated directly from aquatic samples for water quality monitoring. She is currently affiliated as a researcher to the university in New York. Here she works, in close collaboration with NASA, on integrating genetic data with climatologic data (remote sensing, satellite data) in order to understand how species adapt along an environmental gradient.
In addition, Laura is actively involved in conservation organizations, such as the IUCN Conservation Genetics Specialist Group, the African Lion Working Group (member and member of the Special Matters Committee), and the Himalaya Tiger Foundation (board member).
Do you want more information on Laura? Visit her LinkedIn profile.