Next-generation sequencing approaches to assess genomic diversity within managed spruce stands and gene flow between planted stands and natural forest

Hur påverkar olika skogsskötsel och föryngringsmetoder den genetiska variationen i skogen, och hur stor är den genetiska variationen som kan förklara anpassningen till olika miljöer/breddgrader?

Student: Alexis Sullivan

This project will examine effect of reforestation on genetic diversity using next generation sequencing to profile genomic diversity within forest stands under contrasting management strategies. The project will also study adaptation of local population to current and future climates. To understand the relationship between tree diversity and local environment, a provenance trial comprising 30 Norway spruce representing a latitudinal cline from 61°62'N in the south to 66°82'N in the north will be used to profile genetic variation. The baseline information gleaned from this project may ultimately prove important for optimizing forest productivity within a changing climate.
Another interesting question is about long term gene migration between planted stands and natural forest set asides. Do improved stands damage the nature? There is need for a new research field looking at long term consequences of large scale use of successively more highly improver trees. A potential risk associated with the use of exotic cultivars, and more recently with genetically modified trees (GMOs), is gene exchange with native species. This project will develop and employ species-specific molecular markers (SNPs) to estimate the rate of gene exchange between plantations of exotic aspens (both pure species and hybrids) and natural forest stands. Estimates of gene flow will be used in computer simulations to assess potential impacts of exotic cultivars and genetically-modified trees on Sweden's native stands, with direct applications to the sustainable use of forest resources.

Supervisors: Xiao-Ru Wang 
Co-supervisor: Nathaniel Street
Industry partner: Åke Granqvist (Stora Enso Plantor)

Selection for adaptability and optimal seed transfer for Norway spruce under climate change

Hur förädlar vi på bästa sätt fram nytt plantmaterial anpassat för framtida klimatförändringar och hur använder vi bäst befintliga förädlade frökällor?

Student: Jenny Lundströmer

Climate change will require forest regeneration material adapted to a different range of conditions than those existing today. The aim of this project is to develop norms of reaction models to describe the amount and pattern of genotype by environment interaction in a climate change context. The models will be used for selection of individuals in tree breeding or for mass propagation showing a high and stable performance in a broad range of environments with different climatic conditions. At population level, we will develop the best use of improved seedlings and delineating seed utilization zones over general climate gradients. It is also of interest for G x E interaction on individual tree or family level for site specific effects like frost prone and not frost prone sites. Part of the project will involve artificial climate experiments using greenhouses etc. to study the annual growth cycle in response to climate. Part of the project will involve mega-data analyses of population with environment interaction for Norway spruce using variables describing the climate based on meteorological data used in climate scenario research and variables that describe the site.

Supervisors: M Rosario García Gil
Co-supervisor: Mats Berlin, Harry Wu, Oskar Skogström
Industry partner: Stora Enso