Sofia J.
van Moorsel


Intraspecific variation in Fagus sylvatica

Intraspecific variation in Fagus sylvatica

With Prof. Meredith Schuman at the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich, we are working on measuring the intraspecific trait and genetic variation in beech (Fagus sylvatica) and how it responds to both the biotic and abiotic environment. To do so, we're using a blend of ecological genomics and remote sensing tools.

In a common garden experiment, we aim to disentangle the within-species trait variation explained by the genotype vs. the environment. Last summer, we grew roughly 200 young beech trees from different regions in Europe and measured a suite of phenotypic traits, some as simple as plant height, others more complex, such as leaf spectroscopy and canopy reflectance. We also have data on the whole genome sequence of most of these trees. Will we be able to link our phenotypic data to the underlying genetic variation? The data are now being analysed... More to come soon!

This summer, Master students Jolanda Klaver and Dave Kurath will conduct a drought experiment with the beech seedlings. Again, we are interested to see how the genetic variation among the trees is reflected in their drought responses.

A quick summary of the experiment (in German) can be found here.