Climate fluctuation evolutionary diversification and adaptation

P pinasterNaydenov K. et al. 2014.  Range–wide genetic structure of maritime pine predates the last glacial maximum:evidence from nuclear DNA. Hereditas. 151: 1-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1601-5223.2013.00027.x

Nuclear simple sequence repeats (nuSSRs) were used to determine the genetic variability in the natural distribution range of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) in the western Mediterranean region. The development of techniques for DNA analysis in the 1990s has transformed phylogeography from a simple descriptive discipline into a modern tool that enabled the researchers to investigate the role of global climatic fluctuations in driving the evolutionary diversification of this species. The low level of genetic diversity among the populations was combined with genetic drift and a recent bottleneck during the period of human activity. The anthropogenic activities after the last glacial maximum was found to be the root cause of the present fragmentation and statistically proven bottleneck. International projects like ProCoGen, Noveltree etc. would facilitate the development of a complete understanding of complex structure and population history of Pinus pinaster.

Héloïse Le Goff et al. 2014. Vulnerability assessment to climate change of three ecosystem-based forest management projects in Quebec.  The Forestry Hang_WKie3_smallChronicle 90(2): 214-227, DOI: 10.5558/tfc2014-040

This paper proposes the assessment of climate change vulnerability for three ecosystem-based forest management (EBFM) projects in Quebec: the Tembec project in the Abitibi region, the Triad project in the Mauricie region, and the Laurentian Wildlife Reserve project. The objectives were to identify: i) climate change vulnerabilities affecting forest ecosystems and forest management, ii) adaptation options to decrease these vulnerabilities, and iii) current EBFM practices impeding or facilitating the integration of climate change adaptations in forest management.

Amanda De la Torre et al. 2014.  Adaptation and exogenous selection in a Picea glauca × Picea engelmannii hybrid zone: implications for forest management under climate change. New Phytologist. 201: 687–699. doi: 10.1111/nph.12540
The results of this study suggest that the P. glauca × P. engelmannii hybrid zone is maintained by local adaptation to growing season length and snowpack (exogenous selection). Hybrids appeared to be fitter than pure species in intermediate environments, which fits expectations of the bounded hybrid superiority model of hybrid zone maintenance. Adaptive introgression from parental species has probably contributed to increased hybrid fitness in intermediate habitats.

mRNAseq_biomedcentral_comS. Yeaman et al. 2014. Conservation and divergence of gene expression plasticity following c. 140 million years of evolution in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and interior spruce (Picea glauca × Picea engelmannii). New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.12819
Genetic adaptation and phenotypic plasticity help species coup with environmental stress, both may be important for survival in the face of climatic change.
By characterizing the molecular basis of plastic responses and comparing patterns among species, it is possible to identify how such traits evolve.  In this study de novo transcriptome assembly and RNAseq were used to explore how patterns of gene expression differ in response to temperature, moisture, and light regime treatments in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and interior spruce (a natural hybrid population of Picea glauca and Picea engelmannii).

Telford A. et al. 2014. Can we protect forests by harnessing variation in resistance to pests and pathogens? Forestry doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpu012 Telford_et_al_forestry_2014
This review outlines the mechanisms that trees use to defend themselves, the genetic and environmental control of these mechanisms, the subsequent phenotypic variation that we observe and how best to measure and use this to develop and maintain resilient tree populations. In order to ensure a more sustainable and stable future for commercial and native tree species there is a need to incorporate these approaches into forest management globally through collaboration between foresters and scientists and increased investment in relevant research trials.


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