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Instytut Biologii Ssaków Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Białowieża

The BIOGEAST Project


Biodiversity of East-European and Siberian large mammals on the level of genetic variation of populations - BIOGEAST (grant No PIRSES-GA-2009-247652)

7th Framework Programme, Marie Curie Actions-International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES)

This project, conducted in years 2011-2014, aims at building a network of research centres in Central and Eastern Europe and Siberia, and apply the state-of-art knowledge in genetics and macroecology to:

(1) investigate phylogeography of 7 species of large mammals (wolf, Eurasian lynx, brown bear, moose, red deer, roe deer, and wild boar);

(2) identify the locations of LGM refugia for large mammals in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the routes of their post-glacial dispersal to current ranges;

(3) recognise large-scale patterns of neutral genetic variation of large mammals and correlate them with macroecological variation in life habits;

(4) investigate the past genetic variation of European bison (based on ancient DNA extracted from the 19th century museum specimens).

(5) initiate pilot joint studies on genetics and macroecology of small and medium-sized mammals (rodents, mustelids, bats).

The project is performed by 2 consortium members located in EU:

(1) Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Bialowieza, Poland

      - Project Coordinator (MRI-PL)

(2) Department of Zoology, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Estonia


and 5 partner institutions from 3 Eastern countries:

(3) A. N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow, Russia (SIE-RU)

(4) B. M. Zhitkov Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Kirov, Russia IGM-RU)

(5) Institute for Biological Problems of Cryolithozone, Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha, Russian Federation (IYA-RU)

(6) I. I. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine


(7) Ilia Chavchavadze State University, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tbilisi, Georgia (ICU-GE).


In total, 91 exchange visits (typically, one-month long) are planned. Staff secondment is well balanced with 48 person-months from the EU to the Eastern countries, and 43 from

the Eastern countries to the EU. Transfer of knowledge between the partners will also include regular seminars delivered by the seconded staff and two workshops. We expect that the results of the project will form a major contribution to our understanding of pan-European patterns and processes in mammalian biodiversity on the level of genetic variation. This is

the first attempt of such a large-scale study in Eurasia.


Project coordinator at MRI PAS:

Dr Rafał Kowalczyk

Project Administrative Coordinator:

Dr Tomasz Samojlik

© 2011 Instytut Biologii Ssaków PAN w Białowieży

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