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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

MacDonald, Brandon W.S. [1], Wright, Jessica W. [2], Gugger, Paul F. [3], Sork, Victoria L. [4].

Valley oak seedlings show phenotypic plasticity in growth and architecture across two common gardens.

Climate change will increasingly become a major concern for the conservation of long-lived, slowly dispersing tree species such as California’s Valley oak (Quercus lobata). Climate niche modeling has predicted that for some populations of Q. lobata, range displacement will be large and gene flow through pollen and seed dispersal is unlikely to allow the tracking suitable sites. Phenotypic plasticity may be an important mechanism in tolerance of climate change. Using two common gardens established in 2012, we will address the following specific objectives. First, we will identify traits and genotypes from the same family and provenance (i.e. locality) that show plasticity. Second, we will identify the regional or climatic variables associated with the sites of genotypic origin that affect trait values. Acorns from valley oak trees of 95 provenances were sampled throughout the species range, germinated in a greenhouse, and outplanted as seedlings into two common gardens administered by the US. Forest Service, according to the following design: 5-8 families per provenance, and 10 seedlings per family, totaling 650 families and 3000 seedlings in the experimental stations at Chico and Placervile, California. All provenances and families are represented in both common gardens. We found strong differences in growth between the two environments with bigger plants at the Chico, the lower elevation site. We also found a significant effect of the genotype (on the provenance and family level) on trait variation. A significant interaction effect (environment * genotype) has also been identified, indicating that there is differentiation between genotypes in environmental response. Climate variables associated with the site of maternal origin predicted differences in growth and branching architecture in the common garden located in Placerville, CA, where the plants recieve less water. It appears as though local adaptation has an important effect on the growth of trees in more stressful environments. Climate variables associated with the site of maternal origin did not predict differences in growth in the common garden located in Chico, CA. These findings may indicate that it is more difficult to detect population differences in some traits when grown in less stressful environments. Analysis of the genetic basis of other traits including specific leaf area, thickness, dry mass, lobedness, length-width ratio, area, and trichome density will be presented. Results from this study reveal that seedling populations from different parts of the species distribution exhibit different levels of phenotypic plasticity.

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1 - University of California Los Angeles, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 4140 Terasaki Life Sciences Building 610 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-7239 , USA
2 - Institute Of Forest Genetics, 1100 West Chiles Road, Davis, CA, 95618, USA
3 - University of Maryland , Center for Environmental Science, 301 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD, 21532, USA
4 - UCLA, ECOL & EVOL BIOL, Box 957239, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90095-7239, USA

Provenance study
Common garden

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 38, Conservation Biology
Location: Sundance 1/Omni Hotel
Date: Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM
Number: 38007
Abstract ID:530
Candidate for Awards:None

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