College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Galapagos Tortoises Topic for Oct. 21 Science Café

Ryan Garrick

Ryan Garrick

Methods for preserving an endangered species of sea turtle is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s third meeting of the Oxford Science Café is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Lusa Pastry Café, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Ryan Garrick, UM assistant professor of biology, will discuss “Applications of genetics to Galapagos tortoise conservation.” Admission is free.

“Molecular genetics offers conservation biologists critical information upon which to design efficient, effective management strategies,” Garrick said. “Galápagos tortoises are flagships in this respect, because captive breeding programs have been largely facilitated by genetic tools.”

Garrick’s 30-minute presentation will review recent work on this group.

Galápagos tortoise | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Galápagos tortoise | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“Occasionally, past hybridization can actually generate positive outcomes for conservation,” he said. “This is the case for Chelonoidis elephantopus, a species that was thought to have been extinct over 150 years ago. However, for another pair of evolutionarily-distinct lineages of Galápagos tortoises, on-going hybridization is likely to lead to a net loss of biodiversity via lineage collapse and replacement with a hybrid swarm.”

Garrick earned his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from La Trobe University in Australia. He was a postdoc researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University and at Yale University.

Garrick’s research interests are insect evolution, molecular ecology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation biology. His journal affiliations include “the Bulletin of Entomological Research” and “Insects” for which he was guest editor of its Phylogeographic Syntheses special issue.

For more information about Oxford Science Café programs, go to http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit https://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-5311.