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Relating adaptive genetic traits to climate for Sandberg bluegrass from the intermountain western United StatesAuthor(s): Richard C. Johnson; Matthew E. Horning; Erin Espeland; Ken Vance-Borland
Source: Evolutionary Applications. 8(2): 172-184.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionGenetic variation for potentially adaptive traits of the key restoration species Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda J. Presl) was assessed over the intermountain western United States in relation to source population climate. Common gardens were established at two intermountain west sites with progeny from two maternal parents from each of 130 wild populations. Data were collected over 2 years at each site on fifteen plant traits associated with production, phenology, and morphology. Analyses of variance revealed strong population differences for all plant traits (P < 0.0001), indicating genetic variation. Both the canonical correlation and linear correlation established associations between source populations and climate variability. Populations from warmer, more arid climates had generally lower dry weight, earlier phenology, and smaller, narrower leaves than those from cooler, moister climates. The first three canonical variates were regressed with climate variables resulting in significant models (P < 0.0001) used to map 12 seed zones. Of the 700 981 km2 mapped, four seed zones represented 92% of the area in typically semi-arid and arid regions. The association of genetic variation with source climates in the intermountain west suggested climate driven natural selection and evolution. We recommend seed transfer zones and population movement guidelines to enhance adaptation and diversity for large-scale restoration projects.
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CitationJohnson, Richard C.; Horning, Matthew E.; Espeland, Erin; Vance-Borland, Ken. 2015. Relating adaptive genetic traits to climate for Sandberg bluegrass from the intermountain western United States. Evolutionary Applications. 8(2): 172-184.
Keywordsclimate, genecology, plant adaptation, Poa secunda, restoration, seed zones
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