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 European 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 beech seedlings 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 seedlings. Will we be able to link our phenotypic data to the underlying genetic variation? The data are now being analysed... More to come soon!

In spring/summer 2023, MSc students Jolanda Klaver and Dave Kurath conducted a drought experiment with the 2-year old beech seedlings to see how the genetic variation among the plants is reflected in their drought responses. Stay tuned for their Msc theses and the subsequent publications.

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