The climate of southwestern Australia has already shifted and will continue to change in the future, making some plant species vulnerable to novel conditions.
This rapid change in climate will likely create a mismatch between genotype and environment. Therefore, understanding the evolutionary capacity and patterns of local adaptation of a foundation species is critical for the maintenance of the species and the collective biodiversity associated with it. Collections of the co-dominant tree Corymbia calophylla (marri) were used to study its adaptive potential by applying landscape genomics, glasshouse, and common garden methodologies. The presence of high recombination rates, substantial gene flow, standing variation within and near genes, and phenotypic plasticity demonstrate that marri is equipped with the genomic tools to adapt to future climates. However, generation times for trees are often long and overlapping, so it is difficult to imagine a scenario where adaptive response can occur fast enough to meet the pressures from rapid climate change. Therefore, it is critical to maintain the many roles of marri through proactive approaches such as assisted gene migration that increase local genetic variation associated with environment.
Dr Collin Ahrens from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the University of New South Wales presented his work in an online seminar given on Tuesday, 13 Apr 2021. Watch again this seminar in the video below:
For details of access to this e-seminar or more information about our seminars and future announcements, please contact Hervé Sauquet.