Science Topics: Forest Genetics
Conservation Biology and Impacts on Native Species by Invasive Species
Invasive species come in all forms- plants, animals, pathogens. They each have an impact on the ecosystem they invade. The Wright lab is part of a collaborative effort, coordinated by Richard Sniezko, funded through the PSW Sudden Oak Death Project, as well as the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. A diverse group of scientists are conducting 4 concurrent experiments on a set of maternal Tanoak trees, collected from populations across California and Oregon. In the spring of 2006, 100 acorns were collected from approximately 30 trees in 5 populations. These acorn collections were then divided into 3 sets for use in a series of collaborative experiments. Two experiments, coordinated by Mateo Garbelotto and Katy Hayden (UC Berkeley) focus on resistance to the introduced pathogen, sudden oak death (SOD). A third experiment, run by Richard Dodd (UC Berkeley), examines molecular genetic variation using tissue from the maternal trees. The Wright lab is conducting the fourth experiment, which looks at quantitative genetic variation in these populations. Together these data will provide an understanding of the relationship between disease resistance, molecular genetic variation and quantitative genetic variation. As climate change continues, more and more species will be able to invade new areas where they previously could not occur. Understanding the relationship between genetic variation in native populations, and their resistance to invasive diseases will be key to managing future outbreaks of new invasive pests.