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Individual Highlight

Landscape Genomics of Koa Tree (Acacia koa)

Photo of Koa (Acacia koa) tree. (Acacia koa) tree. : Forest Service scientists examined patterns of genetic differentiation throughout the genome of the Hawaiian koa tree (Acacia koa) and associated these patterns with climate, rock age and geographic location. The researchers found that genomic data are strongly correlated with environmental data. This provides preliminary evidence for the role of natural selection and adaption in structuring the population.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Liang, Christina 
Research Location : Hawaii
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1014


Identifying patterns of genetic variation under natural selection by the environment is an important first step towards understanding how plant populations will respond to changing conditions, including projected climate change. Landscape genomics is a powerful approach for identifying adaptive genetic variation because genetic variation can be associated directly with environmental variables. This information is useful for identifying populations at risk as well as populations that may be adaptable in future scenarios, particularly for species of high management interest, such as Acacia koa (koa) in Hawai'i.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Jessica Wright, Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • University of Maryland