We strive to be a leading example in cutting-edge, applied conservation science. We often host symposia at TWS conferences, such as the upcoming 2024 conference in Baltimore. Check out our upcoming events and review past seminars.

Past Symposia

2023 TWS Annual Conference Symposium - Landscape Genetics for Wildlife Ecology and Management: Advances and Applications

Session abstract: This symposium brings together practitioners and researchers to learn about landscape genetics in the age of genomics, spotlight new developments for modeling landscape connectivity and identifying adaptive loci, and promote the application of landscape genetics and genomics to wildlife conservation and management across a diverse range of species and systems. 

2022 TWS Annual Conference Symposium - Advances in eDNA Management Applications

Session abstract: Environmental DNA (eDNA) offers an opportunity for the detection and monitoring of native and invasive species and their associated pathogens. This approach is ideal for species that are semi-aquatic or terrestrial species that frequently interact with water and emerging eDNA collection techniques are able to detect fully terrestrial species. This symposium focuses on the use of eDNA for the surveying and monitoring of macrofaunal communities, with a particular emphasis on new techniques for expanding the scope of eDNA monitoring and inference, including soil, air, and flowers. In particular, the symposium seeks to provide an opportunity for both researchers and practitioners to come together to learn about new developments and challenges with the “nuts and bolts” of eDNA applications and inspire new avenues for monitoring. The symposium will focus on projects that have a strong applied component and are tackling ongoing wildlife management challenges. It is our goal that the symposium will further the sharing and integration of knowledge between practitioners and those interested in applying these methods in wildlife conservation.

2021 TWS Annual Conference Symposium - Adapting Management Through Collaboration: Integrating genetics to inform management decisions

Session abstract: Genetic techniques to inform wildlife conservation and management continue to revolutionize our ability to monitor populations and provide data necessary to estimate population size, detect cryptic species, and assess population connectivity. While the field of wildlife genetics is vast and ever-growing, forging partnerships between molecular ecologists and managers will ensure these tools are utilized appropriately to expand knowledge, increase options, and reduce costs. This symposium will give clear examples of practical applications of genetic techniques and partnerships as well as unveil the Molecular Ecology’s new “Collaborate” tool for managers.

2020 TWS Annual Conference Symposium - Noninvasive Genetic Sampling in Wildlife Management: the past, present, and future 

Session abstract: The development of noninvasive genetic sampling in the 1990s revolutionized wildlife management and our ability to monitor wild populations. The advent of noninvasive genetic sampling - extracting genetic material from environmental DNA sources such as hair, feces, or feathers — has enabled researchers to gather critical data about wild populations without handling an animal. It has also allowed for increased sample sizes (e.g. it’s easier to pick up 100 feces than trap 50 wolves); provided necessary data to estimate population size; increased detection of cryptic species; and facilitated the assessment of population connectivity. Despite the revolution of noninvasive genetic sampling techniques, these methods are limited by the quality of environmental source DNA. Advances in sequencing technology are actively expanding the application of noninvasive genetic sampling. For instance, we can capture mosquitoes and flies, or collect soil and water samples to study wildlife in a region. We can also assess an individual’s genotype, diet, microbiome, and disease state with one fecal sample at increasingly reduced costs. These novel extensions of noninvasive genetic sampling are ushering in a new methodological era that will radically advance the fields of population biology and community ecology. This symposium will discuss past, present, and future applications of noninvasive genetic sampling, how these methods are expanding our sampling abilities, and the practical application of new techniques. Please join us for an engaging lineup of talks that will be accessible for anyone interested in how noninvasive genetic sampling can improve wildlife management, no genetic experience required!

Speakers and Presentations: 

2019 TWS/AFS Joint Annual Conference Symposium - Frontiers in Terrestrial and Aquatic Genomes: To go boldly with everyone else  

Symposium Description: The ‘Frontiers in Genomics’ symposium is jointly organized by the AFS Genetics Section (AFS-GS) and the TWS Molecular Ecology Working Group (TWS-WG) and will focus on the application of massively parallel and long-read sequencing technologies in wildlife and fisheries research, and on how conservation and management can capitalized on the high throughput, scalability, and unprecedented resolution these approaches provide. The symposium will highlight application of new molecular and analytical approaches to a broad array of questions relevant to both societies, to include: Epigenetics, emerging infectious diseases, invasive species, land/riverscape genomics, molecular forensics, non-invasive monitoring, and redefining the role of hybridization in conservation. The symposium will provide a comprehensive overview of new developments in genomics, showcasing the relative ease of generating genomics data and their broad applicability, with more specific topics covered in other symposia. It aims to promote wide adoption and incorporation of genomics into the standard tool-kit of fisheries and wildlife biologists by effectively decoupling genomics research from ‘specialists’ applications. A focus will be on mitigating issues that impede widespread adoption, such as processing and analyzing large amounts of data and bridging the gap between genomic advances and computational resources. How these daunting tasks can be navigated will be illustrated, with particular emphasis on engagement of students and postdoctoral presenters. 'Horizon-scans’ will highlight emerging genomic approaches to showcase research agendas going forward beyond the current frontier.

2017 TWS Annual Conference Symposium - Genetics to Genomics: what we've learned over the last 10 years and what's next for wildlife management 

Session abstract: We have undoubtedly entered the genomic era of molecular ecology, which is characterized by the examination of whole genomes and the availability of large amounts of genetic data for numerous wildlife species. But how has this ‘big-data’ era of genetics impacted wildlife conservation and management? What are the most recent advancements in molecular ecology and how can we leverage these methods for wildlife management? This symposium aims to answer these questions with talks focused on both methodological advancements and empirical studies. We will begin the symposium with presentations detailing practical aspects of genomic research for those new to population genomic studies. Next, research talks will focus on comparative results between traditional genetic methods and genomic sequencing, highlighting similarities and new discoveries attainable with ‘big-data’ methods that are applicable to wildlife management. The symposium will end with presentations addressing some of the newest applications of molecular ecology for wildlife management, such as ecological epigenetics. 

Speakers and Presentations: