About this Research Topic
Asian mountains are known for their ecological richness due to heterogeneity in the landscapes and quaternary climate oscillations, which have been significant drivers of animal diversification. Additionally, historic glaciation, which has been differential in these mountains, also caused habitat fragmentation. Some of these mountains might have been habitat barriers and may have allowed isolated evolutions. All these factors must have played a significant role in the selection of local adaptation, variation in biological and ecological traits, and genetic characteristics in the species’ of the wide distribution range.
Hence, species distributed over vast landscapes are among the best exhibitors of evolutionary processes, such as adaptation and diversification. Among these, the “Woolly wolf” (Canis lupus chanco) known for their furry appearance is spread from Central Asia, Mongolia, Chinese Turkestan, Tian Shan mountains to the high altitude plateau Tibet, Qinghai, Shensi, Szechwan, Yunnan, and the Himalayas. Despite numerous studies, wolf biology and evolution, in general, are full of the riddles, and the taxonomic status of several populations is under debate, including Woolly wolf. Recent studies highlighted the genetic and evolutionary uniqueness of the Woolly wolf and how it adapted to survive in the extreme cold conditions of Asia's high mountains. However, effective conservation strategies require synthesis of the information about species' “adaptive radiations” that are related to the regional ecological and environmental conditions. Therefore, our research topic is centered around the adaptation, ecology, evolution, and genetics that can assist in the conservation of the Woolly wolf. It would be an excellent opportunity for enhancing the conservation status of Woolly Wolf in the Asian mountains through well-informed scientific information, acting as a case-study for similar endeavors.
Visualizing the conservation importance of the species distributed across the world’s unique ecosystem of different mountains, we will consider research articles and reviews of various disciplines related to its adaptive radiations. We proposed to include the articles on:
(i) adaptations, especially anatomical and morphological to the high altitude and hypoxia;
(ii) ecological topics covering habitat and prey species specialization; predator-prey relationship, ranging behavior or reproductive biology;
(iii) evolutionary divergence due to quaternary climate oscillation;
(iv) population genetics, landscape genetics, delineation of conservation units, and climate change.
We strongly believe our endeavor of collecting diverse knowledge across the world would ultimately strengthen the effective planning of species’ conservation management in general, and ensure ecosystem services for humans' wellbeing.
Keywords: Woolly Wolf, Landscape Conservation, Population Demography and Genetics, Ranging Behavior, Adaptive Radiation, Climate Change
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