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Landscape Genomics of Adaptive Variation in a California Keystone Tree Species, Quercus lobata

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Uploaded on Oct 11, 2011

Dr. Victoria Sork, Dean of Life Sciences, Professor Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA speaks on Landscape Genomics of Adaptive Variation in a California Keystone Tree Species, Quercus lobata

Valley oak is an endemic oak of California that determines ecosystems and their biodiversity. The genetic structure of this species reflects its long evolutionary history in this unglaciated region through gene flow, genetic drift, and natural selection. For evolutionary biologists, the study of adaptive variation provides crucial information for understanding the ability of populations and species to respond to environmental factors. Landscape genomics is an emerging discipline that examines patterns of adaptive genetic variation on the landscape taking into account the demographic history of the species. In the first part of the talk, I will present a phylogeographic analysis of Quercus lobata of individuals sampled throughout the species' range I will asses the impact of demographic history and natural selection on the spatial structure of neutral genetic markers. In the second part, I will present a landscape genomic analysis of candidate genes associated with plant response to climate variables using the results of high throughput sequencing of individuals sampled from 13 localities throughout the species' range. To find evidence of natural selection, we conducted outlier analyses of FST and correlations of SNP frequencies with climate variables. Our findings identify multiple genes that may represent adaptive genetic variation in this species and climate variables that are most important. Our study demonstrates the ability to apply next generation sequencing tools to nonmodel systems and to answer important evolutionary questions for ecologically significant keystone species. Such information provides us valuable insight about the evolutionary history of this taxa, but will also provide relevant details for understanding the ability of valley oak to respond to future climate change.

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