Quantitative Ecology Program

Head of the program: Professor David Tarkhnishvili

Participants of the program: Associate Prof. Alexandre Gavashelishvili, Assistant Prof. Marina Murtskvaladze, Assitent researcher Zurab Javakhishvili, Levan Mumladze, Giorgi Chaladze, Emeritus Professor Aivengo Shatirishvili
Program also involves MA and PhD students of the Ilia State University. 
Contact person: David Tarkhnishvili
Mail: david_tarkhnishvili@iliauni.edu.ge, tel.: 877 553 320


Summary of the Project

More and more attention is attracted by ecological and evolutionary research. Despite the fact that the Caucasus is part of the list of biodiversity hot spots, Georgia does not demonstrate sufficient research productivity in the fields of ecology and evolution. 

This may result from different factors: lack of expertise and scarcity of technical equipment. After increased distribution of personal computers theoretical biology and namely ecological and evolutionary science started to develop at an increasing speed. High quality peer reviewed journals practically do not publish articles which do not provide prove for the use of newest methodologies and do not contain analytical approach. Without rapid development of expertise in the above fields, implementation of wider use of newest methodologies and training of young scholars Georgian scientific society will not be able to achieve any progress in this direction. 
Program foresees development of quantitative ecology and evolutionary research at the Biodiversity Research Center of the Ilia State University. Program sets the goal to increase level of current ecological and evolutionary research and scientific productivity. Goal can be achieved through: 
  1. Increased interest towards preparing of the MA and PhD students for independent use of new research technologies and analytical mathematical approaches; 
  2. Support of enhancement of existing research level (also in other research groups) and strengthening of modern analytical and technical components in these researches; 3. Increase of scientific productivity of professors, researchers and students who cooperate in the frames of the program. 
Program description
Goals of the program: 
  • Qualitative improvement of research in the realm of ecology, biodiversity and evolutionary biology through implementation of
  •  newest analytical and technical methods (among them molecular-genetic methods) and preparing of corresponding experts;
  • Increase of scientific productivity in the above fields through “scientification” of environmental activities and publishing of more articles in high ranking journals. 
Specific objectives
  • Mathematization of ecological and evolutionary research and increase of role of modern computer methodologies in current research;  
  • Implementation of molecular-genetic methods in ecological and evolutionary research;
  • Study of evolutionary history of the Caucasus with the use of modern molecular-genetic and analytical methods;
  • Increase of number of students involved in current research;
  • Internationalization of ecological research (involvement of foreign professors and students in research taking place in Georgia);
  • Increase of number and quality of scientific publications in the realm of ecology and evolution.
Research projects/directions of the program:
  • Direction: Study of Evolution of Relict Flora and Fauna With the Use of Molecular-genetic and Analytical Methods. Direction has been developed since 2007 through four projects: GRDF/GNSF project (finished), joint project with the University of Bonn (financing was provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) and two projects financed in the frames of the BP conservation programs (finished). Applications for one group and two individual projects are submitted to the Georgia National Science Foundation. For the time being the Institute is in the process of negotiations for development of this direction and establishment of an international group. It is planed to conduct international working meeting at the Ilia State University in October 2009 (funding for the meeting is provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung). Research in this field will continue until the end of the program in parallel with other projects. 
  • Project: Origin, Ecology and Evolution of Unisex Rock Lizards. Project was financed by the Georgia National Science Foundation and is to be completed in 2010. American partners submitted an application to the National Science Foundation of the United States. In case of approval, project will continue its development during additional three years. 
  • Project: Study of Phylogeography and Population-Genetic Structure of Caucasian Brown Bear. Project was financed by the International Association for Bear Research and Management. It was completed in 2009 though it is planed to attract additional funds; one individual application is already submitted to Georgia National Science Foundation. 
  • Direction: Monitoring of biodiversity with the use of geoinformation systems and distance exploration, genetic analysis, radiotelemetry, photo trap registration, population survey. Big part of this direction was jointly financed by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia and GTZ. Direction will be developed until the end of the program. 
  • Project: Ecology and Evolution of Bird Flu Viruses in Wild Birds of Georgia. This project was realized through cooperation of the following organizations: National Center for Disease Control of Georgia, Ilia State University, Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, Erasmus Medical Center (Netherlands), Cambridge University (UK). Financing for the project was provided by the Wellcome Trust (UK). Project will be developed until the end of the program. 
  • Project: Establishment of Compliance of Taxonomic Inventories of Georgian Flora and Fauna With Their European Counterparts. Project is part of a program, which was financed by the European Union. Program will be completed in 2011. 
  • Project: Genetic and Morphologic Evolution of Land Snails. One group and one individual application are submitted to the Georgia National Science Foundation. 

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Web Site Last Update Date :   2014-12-18