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Genetic variation in lodgepole pine and interior spruce: adaptation to climate and implications for seed transfer Open Access


Other title
Picea glauca
forest genetics
seed zones
Picea engelmannii
genetic diversity
ecological genetics
Pinus contorta
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Liepe, Katharina J
Supervisor and department
Hamann, Andreas (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Yang, Rong-Cai (Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science)
Hacke, Uwe (Renewable Resources)
Department of Renewable Resources
Forest Biology and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
This thesis investigates genetic variation of two commercially important conifers in western Canada, interior spruce and lodgepole pine. The goals were to quantify genetic diversity and geographic structure, to describe multitrait adaptation to local climates, and to use this information for the development of seed zones for Alberta and British Columbia. The study is based on common garden experiments in growth chambers simulating multiple environments. Genetic differences in phenology, frost hardiness and seedling growth were assessed for approximately 250 seed sources. The results show that 85% of the trait variation was found within populations of both species, while only 15-20% of the among-population variation (or 2-3% of the total variation) could be interpreted as multitrait adaptations to different macroclimatic regions. A key finding of this study is a remarkable degree of genetic diversity in climate-related adaptive traits, implying enough evolutionary capacity to adapt to new environmental conditions. Our results indicate that the current seed zones system can be simplified, especially in Alberta. No more than 20 seedzones for each, lodgepole pine and interior spruce, are required to guide reforestation across Alberta and British Columbia, substantially reducing logistics for seed management.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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