QUANTITATIVE ECOLOGY PROGRAMME
Programme Supervisor: Davit Tarkhnishvili
Key research areas within the quantitative ecology and evolutionary research programme (research into individual areas is carried out with the financial support of ISU as well as with national and/or international grants; part of the research is carried out together with foreign and Georgian partners):
- Modeling Tertiary refugia of Western Asia and the Caucasus;
- Exploring relict fauna of the Caucasus by applying genetic and field methods;
- Modelling Forest cover and other natural ecosystems in the Caucasus and Georgia;
- Exploring the origin of species by example of Caucasus rock lizards and evolution of asexual reproduction in lizards;
- GIS modeling of biodiversity in the Caucasus;
- Population-genetic study of brown bears in the Caucasus;
- Study of bird migration to the Caucasus and epidemiological study of Avian Influenza;
- Molecular-genetic study of Caucasian horse breeds;
- Human genetic diversity in Georgia and the Caucasus and its relation to ecological variables;
The programme personnel is engaged in other research programmes of the Institute, i.e. the project dealing with the analysis of genetic relations between the wolf and Caucasian shepherd dog and estimation of game animals. It is planned to conduct genetic analysis of of cultivated plants.
The Institute has scientific expertise (the Institute is the leader in the Caucasus region in terms of the number of the high impact publications in the field of ecology and biodiversity) and material resources for conducting these research projects. It has access to field research facilities, a molecular-genetic laboratory (this laboratory is the only functioning molecular-genetic university laboratory throughout the Caucasus), a computer laboratory provided with extra server computer network in 2013, and the equipment necessary for field research.
The research is further supported by the cooperation between ISU and the Agency of Protected Areas, and the departments of Ecology and Genetics of western universities (e.g. the University of Goettingen, Germany; the University of Glasgow, UK; the University of Helsinki, Finland; the University of Tartu, Estonia; the University of Idaho, US).
Prospects of the development of the Institute are linked to the successful implementation of current and planned projects, as well as students’ active involvement in the programme and the publication of research results in highly rated international scientific journals.
The research programme actively contributes to the development of degree programmes at the bachelor's, master's and Ph.D levels, in particular MA Programmes in the field of ecology, natural resources management, and forest sciences.