Presenter Information

Clare E. Vergobbi, StudentFollow

Presentation Type

Poster - Campus Access Only

Abstract

Whitebark pine (Pinus alibicaulis) is a highly endangered tree species in North America. It is experiencing high mortality due to white pine blister rust and mountain pine beetle outbreaks, as well as the effects of climate change on it’s habitat. It is unknown how this massive mortality has altered the genetic diversity of whitebark pine populations. These large die-offs can act as strong selection events, removing individuals with lower fitness. I am looking at whether survivors of mountain pine beetle outbreaks have different genotypes than those killed, and what effect severe beetle outbreaks have on the genetic diversity of populations.

I am using Inter-Simple Sequence Repeats (ISSR), a method that detects high levels of genetic polymorphism, to test two hypotheses: 1) surviving trees differ genetically from those that are killed by the beetle, and 2) the outbreak has reduced overall genetic diversity in affected stands. I will compare the genetic diversity in two whitebark pine stands—one that has experienced a beetle outbreak with scattered survivors, and one that has not experienced beetle kill. I collected needle samples from both populations and isolated the genetic material from each individual tree. I am currently screening primers and performing gel electrophoresis to analyze genetic differences between individuals.

This study will develop a more informed approach to whitebark pine restoration. If I can identify trees with drought tolerant, beetle-resistant genotypes, managers can avoid use this information to replant trees with favorable genotypes. Whether I am able to detect markers associated with survivor genotypes or not, I will determine whether beetle outbreaks reduce genetic diversity in this tree. This will aid in the understanding of how this tree will adapt to climate change in the future.

Category

Life Sciences

Share

COinS
 
Apr 15th, 11:00 AM Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Using ISSR Markers to Study Genetic Diversity in Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis)

Whitebark pine (Pinus alibicaulis) is a highly endangered tree species in North America. It is experiencing high mortality due to white pine blister rust and mountain pine beetle outbreaks, as well as the effects of climate change on it’s habitat. It is unknown how this massive mortality has altered the genetic diversity of whitebark pine populations. These large die-offs can act as strong selection events, removing individuals with lower fitness. I am looking at whether survivors of mountain pine beetle outbreaks have different genotypes than those killed, and what effect severe beetle outbreaks have on the genetic diversity of populations.

I am using Inter-Simple Sequence Repeats (ISSR), a method that detects high levels of genetic polymorphism, to test two hypotheses: 1) surviving trees differ genetically from those that are killed by the beetle, and 2) the outbreak has reduced overall genetic diversity in affected stands. I will compare the genetic diversity in two whitebark pine stands—one that has experienced a beetle outbreak with scattered survivors, and one that has not experienced beetle kill. I collected needle samples from both populations and isolated the genetic material from each individual tree. I am currently screening primers and performing gel electrophoresis to analyze genetic differences between individuals.

This study will develop a more informed approach to whitebark pine restoration. If I can identify trees with drought tolerant, beetle-resistant genotypes, managers can avoid use this information to replant trees with favorable genotypes. Whether I am able to detect markers associated with survivor genotypes or not, I will determine whether beetle outbreaks reduce genetic diversity in this tree. This will aid in the understanding of how this tree will adapt to climate change in the future.