LUK

A multi-omics approach to reconstruct the impact of human activities on the Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra)

Francesca Angela Lioce
Aalborg Universitet

Abstract

This research is expected to make a contribution to chamois management guidelines and to sustainable use of ecosystems for mountain agriculture by using a combination of several -omics techniques. Specifically, by analysing ancient samples and comparing them with the analysis of modern samples, I expect to get insight

into and estimate the timing and patterns of past, natural or human-induced, demographic changes in order to better understand the processes and events that lead to the current pattern of genetic diversity. Results will be used to make prediction on how this species will respond to future environmental and human-induced changes and therefore to define management strategies that will improve the genetic status of the chamois taking into account also the socio-economical value of this species both in terms of management purposes and tourism.

Secondly I will be able to get a complete picture of chamois and livestock diet to understand if and to what extent these factors can induce changes in chamois’ food habits; the findings should make an important contribution to the development of strategies that foresee a more sustainable use of agricultural land, with the aim of reducing the effects of human disturbance on chamois populations and the conflict between wildlife and Alpine farm economy. Finally, I will obtain information on the effects of these disturbances on chamois health and adaptability: changes in gut microbiota indeed can be used as a tool to investigate future ability of the animals to adapt to changing environment both in terms of climate and habitat fragmentation. All these findings will contribute to the development of appropriate and cost-effective guidelines for the conservation and management of Alpine chamois.