Within-Species Diversity Workshop

Hólar University, Iceland, 16-19 January 2023.

The concept of biodiversity is generally understood as a static construct that:1) emphasizes species diversity over intraspecific (within-species) variation, and 2) emphasizes patterns of diversity rather than the processes which generate and maintain biodiversity over time. This is reflected in the public’s general lack of understanding / misunderstanding of biodiversity concepts. 

A species-level focus carries conservation risk, since it does not account for individual- and population-level processes underpinning species persistence in ecosystems under human stress, and ignores evolutionarily distinctiveness of populations that may not be ecologically interchangeable. Since populations are lost at a higher rate than species, and population loss can have a strong impact on the survival of species, it is crucial that within-species diversity is incorporated in conservation planning and management. 

At this workshop, we will bring together researchers across a range of study species / taxonomic groups, with the aim to: 

1. Discuss existing research, policy, and approaches to intraspecific variation;

2. Identify existing knowledge gaps and how transdisciplinary approaches and data-sharing could aid in addressing these; 

3. Brainstorm methods for future mapping and monitoring of intraspecific variation to inform research, policymaking, and public education; and 4. Devise a plan to gather and collate local knowledge of diversity within species (i.e. indigenous knowledge, local/traditional awareness of within-species differences that have not yet been recorded in Western scientific literature). 

The workshop is funded by IASC and organised in conjunction with BIODICE.