Presentation Title

Inferring the demographic history of red spruce (Picea rubens) from chloroplast genome sequences

Project Collaborators

Stephen Keller, Thibaut Capblancq

Abstract

Since the last glacial maxima, climate change has had a profound impact on the distribution and abundance of species. This is especially true of endemic or regionally restricted species like red spruce (Picea rubens), which has experienced a drastic decline in both population size and genetic diversity. As these measures are both important indicators of future population resilience, understanding the demographic history of red spruce is essential for assessing the long-term stability of the species in eastern North America. With the goal of informing ongoing conservation efforts, I am using chloroplast genome sequence data to address the following objectives: (a) to perform Bayesian Coalescent analyses to estimate changes in effective population size since the last glacial maximum; (b) to analyze measures of genetic variation to determine how genetic structure of the chloroplast genome varies across the current range; and (c) to use haplotypes to investigate potential introgression with black spruce (Picea mariana) in certain regions. From the unique perspective of the haploid, non-recombinant, and paternally-inherited chloroplast genome, I hope to address a major question in how climate change impacts population size and genetic diversity of species, painting a better picture of red spruce population dynamics.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Stephen Keller

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Plant Biology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Inferring the demographic history of red spruce (Picea rubens) from chloroplast genome sequences

Since the last glacial maxima, climate change has had a profound impact on the distribution and abundance of species. This is especially true of endemic or regionally restricted species like red spruce (Picea rubens), which has experienced a drastic decline in both population size and genetic diversity. As these measures are both important indicators of future population resilience, understanding the demographic history of red spruce is essential for assessing the long-term stability of the species in eastern North America. With the goal of informing ongoing conservation efforts, I am using chloroplast genome sequence data to address the following objectives: (a) to perform Bayesian Coalescent analyses to estimate changes in effective population size since the last glacial maximum; (b) to analyze measures of genetic variation to determine how genetic structure of the chloroplast genome varies across the current range; and (c) to use haplotypes to investigate potential introgression with black spruce (Picea mariana) in certain regions. From the unique perspective of the haploid, non-recombinant, and paternally-inherited chloroplast genome, I hope to address a major question in how climate change impacts population size and genetic diversity of species, painting a better picture of red spruce population dynamics.