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Woodland provides an important habitat for many plants and animals. However, due to pressure of land use the woodland resource has gradually been eroded and in many places has become highly fragmented. In general terms, fragmentation causes a decline in the size as well as the quality of habitat patches and can lead to increased isolation of the remaining habitat fragments. We have utilised existing and developed new microsatellite markers in model species such as wood ants, wood crickets and twinflower to gain insight into the effect of landscape features on the pattern and distribution of genetic diversity in areas of fragmented woodland (A’Hara et al. 2011; Vanhala & Cottrell 2008; Vanhala et al. 2014).


Vanhala, T. & Cottrell, J. E. (2008). Development of microsatellite markers for the wood cricket, Nemobius sylvestris (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Molecular Ecology Resources, 8, 1340-1343.

A’Hara, S.W., Scobie, A.R., Broome, A., Long, D. & Cottrell, J.E. 2011. Development of microsatellite markers in twinflower (Linnaea borealis L.), a rare Scottish pinewood plant. Molecular Ecology Resources 12(1):185-9.

Tytti Vanhala, Kevin Watts, Stuart A’Hara & Joan Cottrell 2014 Population genetics of Formica aquilonia wood ants in Scotland: the effects of long-term forest fragmentation and recent reforestation. Conservation Genetics DOI 10.1007/s10592-014-0584-1.