Project Summary

The concept of biodiversity is generally understood as a static construct that 1) emphasizes species diversity over intraspecific variation and 2) emphasizes patterns of diversity rather than processes generating and maintaining biodiversity over time, as reflected in public's general lack of understanding of biodiversity concepts.

A species-level focus carries conservation risk, since it does not account for population-level processes underpinning species persistence in ecosystems under human stress and ignores evolutionarily distinctiveness of populations that may not be interchangeable on an ecological level. Populations are lost at a higher rate than species. Losing them can have strong impact on the survival of species.

We will bring together researchers across a range of study species / taxonomic groups, with the aim to: 1) discuss existing research, policy, and approaches to intraspecific variation; 2) identify existing knowledge gaps and how transdisciplinary approaches and data-sharing could aid in addressing these; 3) brainstorm methods for future mapping and monitoring of intraspecific variation to inform research, policymaking, and public education; and 4) devise a plan to gather and collate local knowledge of diversity within species (i.e. indigenous knowledge, local/traditional awareness of within-species differences that have not yet been recorded in Western scientific literature).


Date and Location: 

16-19 january 2023 | Hólar, Iceland


IASC Working Group / Committees funding the Project:


Project Lead

Bjarni K. Kristjánsson


Year funded by IASC



Project Status





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