UM Professor Contributes to Publication on Ecological Restoration

July 23, 2019

Jakki MohrMISSOULA – The ideas of a University of Montana management and marketing professor recently contributed to genomic research by Australian scientists trying to improve ecosystem restoration efforts.

Dr. Jakki Mohr is the Poe Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow at UM’s College of Business, as well as a Regents Professor – the highest faculty title in the Montana University System. She is co-author of a recently published paper in the prestigious journal Nature Review Genetics with Martin Breed of the University of Adelaide and Peter Harrison and Dorothy Steane of the University of Tasmania, among others.

The article is titled “The potential of genomics for restoring ecosystems and biodiversity.” It suggests the chances of restoring natural ecosystems damaged through human activity will improve if restoration efforts leverage the power of genomics.

How does a Montana marketing professor get mixed up with Australian scientists?

“This project grew out of a conversation at the 2017 Society of Ecological Restoration worldwide conference in Brazil, where I presented a keynote talk on barriers to innovation in ecological restoration,” Mohr said. “Martin Breed and his team were intrigued by the potential of leveraging genomics in the ecological restoration context.”

The field of ecological restoration returns biodiversity and restores landscapes and ecosystems that have been degraded by human actions. Genomics offers an innovative toolkit to meet the increasing demands of restoration.

“This includes population genomics to improve seed sourcing for restoration projects, meta-omics to improve assessment and monitoring of restoration outcomes, and genome editing to generate novel genotypes and genetic biocontrol of pest and weed populations,” she said.

The article evaluates the potential of these genomics tools and identifies barriers to adopting them in a restoration context. It also emphasizes the need for regulatory and ethical frameworks to guide use of the tools.

The full article is online at https://go.nature.com/2LABbL8.

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Contact: Jakki Mohr, UM Regents Professor of Marketing, 406-243-2920, jakki.mohr@umontana.edu.