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Molecular Ecology Resources


Landscape transcriptomics is an emerging field studying how genome-wide expression patterns reflect dynamic landscape-scale environmental drivers, including habitat, weather, climate, and contaminants, and the subsequent effects on organismal function. This field is benefitting from advancing and increasingly accessible molecular technologies, which in turn are allowing the necessary characterization of transcriptomes from wild individuals distributed across natural landscapes. This research is especially important given the rapid pace of anthropogenic environmental change and potential impacts that span levels of biological organization. We discuss three major themes in landscape transcriptomic research: connecting transcriptome variation across landscapes to environmental variation, generating and testing hypotheses about the mechanisms and evolution of transcriptomic responses to the environment, and applying this knowledge to species conservation and management. We discuss challenges associated with this approach and suggest potential solutions. We conclude that landscape transcriptomics has great promise for addressing fundamental questions in organismal biology, ecology, and evolution, while providing tools needed for conservation and management of species.


Published in Molecular Ecology Resources by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Available via doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.13796.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.