Genetic diversity enables organisms to adapt to changes in their environment. Traditionally, genetic diversity in forest tree species is measured at molecular markers, which are neutral.
There is however concern among forest geneticists that the extent of genetic variation at such markers does not reflect that of adaptive traits and therefore may be of little value for improvement and management of resources.
This project aims at producing a fine scale map of the distribution of neutral and adaptive gene variation in Corymbia citriodora populations distributed across a steep cline of water availability and disease incidence in Queensland, Australia by:
- Quantifying genetic structure and gene flow parameters using available microsatellite markers and well-characterised analytical methods.
- Identifying gene markers for water stress and disease resistance and mapping the distribution across the cline using new genomics tools.
The empirical work will be complemented with simulation modeling to improve our understanding of the role of selection in shaping the distribution of genetic and phenotypic variation across environmental gradients. The project will provide information on the processes underlying adaptation in forest species, essential to forestry and conservation of genetic resources in the context of global climate change.
The experience will be of outstanding value for the applicant who will learn revolutionary state-of-the-art genomics techniques, which await for application in ecology and evolution and will broaden her skills in population genetics and ecological modeling. She will be given the opportunity to interact with internationally renowned experts in forest ecology and environmental genomics in Australia and in France.
The collaboration between the host institution and the partner institution will create valuable links in the promising field of ecological and evolutionary forest genomics research.
Fields of science
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