The dendrochronological measurements of all 500 Nothofagus pumilio samples has just been completed. Cross dating will start soon. Also, our list of ~800 candidate genes is with IGA for the design and manufacturing of probes. Since Roche will soon put their production on hold for half a year, we hope to squeeze our samples in right before the end of the year.
Our DFG project LocalAdapt investigates how local environmental conditions such as temperature, precipitation, and day length are major drivers of evolutionary adaptation in forest trees. The Andes mountain range, which is the longest on Earth and runs almost exactly north-to-south, provides a unique research opportunity for studying the effects of environmental conditions on local tree populations. By dendrophenotyping N. pumilio individuals and populations along its entire distribution range, we can study the relationships between local environmental conditions, past stress events and SNPs at candidate genes. In other words, we will combine dendroecology and genomic analyses. 500 individuals from 20 sites have been sampled across the species’ range. Seventeen sites are paired, meaning two (and in one case three) sites are chosen within a single population – sites that are close enough to share gene flow but far enough to experience different environmental conditions and selective pressures. Two standalone “xeric” sites are located at the far eastern edge of the natural distribution, where preciptation is much lower than average, and the final site is located at the far northern edge, where only one environmental niche is present.
This project is part of an ongoing research partnership between Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA, Bariloche, Argentina) and Philips Universität (Marburg, Germany). Scientists at these institutions have been collaborating for the past two decades to study multiple Nothofagus species, including N.pumilio.