Michael Bruford is a molecular ecologist interested in studying the demographic and evolutionary processes affecting populations, species and ecosystems of conservation concern. His group focuses on elucidating the determinants of genomic diversity, population structure and fitness at a variety of spatio-temporal scales. Projects focus on trying to understand basic evolutionary processes in endangered species but they also place substantial emphasis on provision of data and recommendations to management authorities for action and policy development.
Studies cover a combination of wild and domestic species such as livestock breeds, for which demographic history is often well understood and where genome resources are abundant. The group uses methods from forensic DNA profiling through to whole genome sequencing and integrate the data with landscape analysis (GIS) and genealogical and stochastic population modelling towards comprehensive information for biodiversity management and conservation. Much of group work is carried out in collaboration with applied conservation organisations, including the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Bristol Zoo, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the Ryeland and Lleyn Sheep Societies. We also work directly within and in collaboration with the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and Welsh Government.