Conservation Science

Golden eagle genomics

The golden eagle is an iconic bird of prey actively being conserved in Scotland and many other areas around the world. Through genetic monitoring and whole genome sequencing our research projects are informing global decision-making for golden eagle population management.

The golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, has a circumglobal distribution and is nominally divided into six subspecies.  While the overall Red List status for the species is Least Concern, individual populations have suffered severe declines over the past century and are now subject to a range of management interventions, including translocations and the establishment of conservation breeding programmes.  The Conservation Genetics team runs several research projects to support management worldwide.


In collaboration with our Conservation Medicine team, we are working with the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project to provide technical input to golden eagle translocations and subsequent post-release population monitoring.


We have an active collaboration with Kyoto University’s Wildlife Research Center and their ongoing efforts to conserve the Japanese sub-species of golden eagle.  This has included genetic screening of both wild and captive populations in Japan. More broadly, we are part of an ongoing exchange between Japanese and Scottish golden eagle conservation scientists that aims to share experiences of working with the species across our two landscapes.


Lastly, through partnership with the UK Sanger Centre’s 25 Genomes Project, we have recently helped create a reference genome sequence for the Scottish golden eagle, released as a common resource for supporting biological research into the species worldwide.


For more information on any of these projects, contact Rob Ogden