Center for Environmental Studies Dr. Rodney Dyer teaches applied analysis workshop in Scotland
November 29, 2016
Dr. Rodney J. Dyer, Assistant Director for VCU’s Center for Environmental Studies, has recently returned from Scotland where he taught a five-day course, Landscape Genetic Data Analysis Using R, at the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE). SCENE is the University of Glasgow’s leading field station.
The course covered the basis of both quantitative landscape ecology and populations genetics, with a focus on developing and evaluating spatial/genetic analyses using the R platform. Graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and primary investigators interested in learning how to integrate landscape ecological and population genetics tools using the R software attended the class. The international group came from countries such as Uruguay, Israel and Croatia.
SCENE provided a perfect setting, located within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park with on-site buildings for education and research. The rich habitat provides a unique place for teaching, training and research in ecology and environmental sciences. “This is what we envision Rice Rivers Center to be, as we work towards building the overnight lodge and research facility,” remarked Dyer.
Dyer’s expertise in landscape genetics will take him to China in November 2017, followed by a trip to South America. The problem of landscape conversion has become an urgent concern worldwide, given the tempo and extent of human-mediated disturbance. “During the next 50 years there will be more urbanization,” states Dyer, “and for long-lived organisms, changes are happening at such a pace that species will not be able to mount adaptive responses. As a result, we must look to managing genetic variation and diversity now, as it is only going to decline for the vast majority of species around us as we go forward.”