U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution Vol.22 No.1; doi:10.1016/j.tree.2006.08.009


U.S. government work. Published by Elsevier.


In response to ever-increasing anthropogenic changes to natural ecosystems, regional, national and international organizations have established guidelines for monitoring biological diversity. Most monitoring programs, however, do not take full advantage of the potential afforded by molecular genetic markers, which can provide information relevant to both ecological and evolutionary time frames, while costing less and being more sensitive and reliable than traditional monitoring approaches. As several molecular and computational approaches are relatively new, many technical and theoretical issues remain to be resolved. Here, we illustrate how DNA and population genetic data can provide valuable information, often unattainable via other approaches, for monitoring species of management, conservation and ecological interest.