Navigation Links
UC research tests new tool to guide reintroduction of the American chestnut
Date:3/19/2012

The death of the American Chestnut due to an Asian bark fungus accidentally introduced to the United States had profound environmental and economic consequences since the tree was highly valued for its strong, workable lumber and a variety of wildlife from deer to birds to bears relied upon the chestnut for food.

Ongoing efforts to reintroduce the American Chestnut are labor intensive and expensive, in part because they rely on genetic cross breeding to produce a tree that is genetically speaking primarily an American Chestnut but endowed with the Chinese Chestnut blight-resistance genes. For instance, one recent blight-resistant strain ready for reintroduction is calculated to be 94 percent American Chestnut and six percent Chinese Chestnut.

Since production of genetically cross-bred American Chestnuts for reintroduction is so laborious, University of Cincinnati graduate and undergraduate biology students recently tested a new software tool called NEWGARDEN in order to see how it might guide preserve managers in creating the most-favorable conditions for reintroduction plantings of American Chestnuts.

The results of that testing, "Founder Placement and Gene Dispersal Affect Population Growth and Genetic Diversity in Restoration Planting of American Chestnut," will be presented by UC biology doctoral student Yamini Kashimshetty at the March 23-25 Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, a conference specifically for undergraduate and graduate student research that will draw representatives from the region.

Several years ago, UC faculty members Steven Rogstad of biological sciences and and Stephan Pelikan of mathematical sciences developed the NEWGARDEN computer program in order to not only track but to predict long-term outcomes for newly founded plant populations in terms of population size and genetic diversity.

Predicting best planting practices for American chestnuts

Using the NEWGARDEN software, UC students Kashimshetty and Melanie Simkins input a variety of founder planting scenarios in order to determine which would best promote a reintroduction population of American Chestnuts to thrive for the next 101 years.

They began with a theoretical restoration preserve of about 25 square kilometers square (or about 9.7 square miles). Using the software, they varied the original placement of 169 founder American Chestnuts to determine which pattern would theoretically lead to the largest population gains and the greatest genetic diversity among that population for the next 101 years. (An original replanting of 169 trees was selected for this study because previously published studies determined that figure to be the minimum number required to retain a high level of long-term genetic diversity while keeping reintroduction expenses at a minimum.)

Said Kashimshetty, "Due to the expense of producing the hybridized American Chestnuts, we wanted to test and determine potential best practices for reintroducing them. The tests that we are able to do virtually, such as varying different life history characteristics - including pollen and offspring-dispersal distances or varying the placement geometry of founders, cannot be easily done in the real world since large areas, large numbers of trees and replicate experiments lasting 100 years or more would be needed."

So, she added, "To perform multiple real-world variations on a tree like the American Chestnut would be extremely expensive and labor-intensive."

In testing varying reintroduction scenarios with the NEWGARDEN software, the UC team simulated natural population development and found

  • To ensure the greatest population growth rate and genetic diversity retention among the original founders and offspring trees, an original planting of a stand of 169 founders should be 1,500 meters (about 1,640 yards) into the preserve's borders. Said Kashimshetty, "If you plant near the edge of a preserve, you risk slower population growth and greater loss of genetic variation due to offspring dispersal out of the preserve."

  • By simply planting the founder trees 1,500 meters into the preserve and planting the original founder trees in a grid 16 feet apart from one another, the result in 101 years' time should be about 7,000 trees.

  • At least 9,000 resulting trees would be possible in 101 years' time by moderate dispersal (manually moving) of offspring seeds or seedlings to greater distances from the founders than would occur naturally.

  • If the original stand of trees is planted at the edge of the preserve, it's estimated that the original stand of 169 trees would result in approximately 2,000 resulting trees in 101 years' time. Thus, by planting the trees further into a preserve at 1,500 meters, with proper spacing, it's estimated that 247 percent more trees will result in 101 years' time.

  • Even planting the founder trees only 500 meters (1,640 feet) into the preserve vs. planting founders on the preserve's edge would increase the population size by 148 percent in 101 years' time.

  • Further, by planting the original founder trees just 500 meters into the preserve, 97 percent of their genetic diversity is preserved. Thus, if the goal is only to preserve genetic diversity without regard for achieving maximum population size, it's sufficient to plant the original stand 500 meters (1,640 feet) into the preserve.

Through such comparative computer modeling, the goal is to provide improved guidelines for the spacing and geometric patterning of founding trees in restoration plantings of American Chestnut, leading to a more successful return of this threatened but important native to the eastern forests of North America.


'/>"/>

Contact: M.B. Reilly
reillymb@ucmail.uc.edu
513-556-1824
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Wistar Institute researcher receives New Innovator award from NIH
2. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
3. White Mountain Research Station to host climate change conference
4. Stevens awarded $1M for advanced biofuels research
5. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
6. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
7. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
8. Researcher working on destruction of chemical weapons
9. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
10. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
11. The Rett Syndrome Research Trust launches operations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UC research tests new tool to guide reintroduction of the American chestnut
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech ... startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris ... will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson ... France is one of the most dynamic ... in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... its vendor landscape is marked by the presence of ... is however held by five major players - 3M ... these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global ... leading companies in the global military biometrics market boast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for ... complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is ... and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and ... distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to address key ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased ... of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are ... - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights ... (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital ...
Breaking Biology Technology: