Mari Mette Tollefsrud

Research Scientist

(+47) 907 60 870
Mari.Mette.Tollefsrud@nibio.no

Place
Ås H8

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 8, 1433 Ås

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Abstract

Seed from orchards, established from breeding programs, often dominate the planting stock in economically important tree species, such as Norway spruce. The genetic diversity in seed orchards’ crops depends on effective population size which in turn is affected by many factors such as: number of parents in the orchard, seed orchards’ design, fecundity, and pollen contamination. Even though seed orchards’ seed is extensively used over large regions, very few studies have addressed how well their crops reflect the genetic diversity present in the regions where they are planted. Here we have investigated the genetic diversity (by means of 11 microsatellites) of two Norway spruce seed orchard populations with different number of parents (60 and 25) and compared this with seed crops collected in the semi natural forest and natural unmanaged populations. We found that the ratio between the effective population size (N e ) and actual number of parents (N) varied between 0.60 and 0.76 in the orchards’ seedlots. A reduction in genetic diversity (mainly allelic richness) was detected in a few seedlots, mainly where the number of parents was low. Our results also show that pollen contamination play an important role in maintaining the genetic diversity in orchards’ seedlots, particularly when the number of parents is low. The population genetic structure among seed orhcards and natural populations is shallow suggesting that re- generation with seed from current seed orchards will have limited effect on the overall genetic diversity.

Abstract

In Norway the common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) has its northernmost distribution in Europe. It grows along the coastal range as small fragmented populations. The first occurrence of ash dieback caused by Hymenoscyphus fraxineus in Norway was reported in 2008. At that time, the disease had already spread through large areas of southern and south-eastern parts of Norway. Since then the disease continued spreading with a speed of about 50- 60 km per year along the western coastal range. To monitor the disease development over time, we established eight permanent monitoring plots in south-eastern and western Norway in 2009 and 2012, respectively. In all plots tree mortality was high, especially among the youngest trees in south-eastern Norway. The extent of crown damage has continually increased in all diameter classes for both regions. In 2009, 76.8 % of all trees on the five monitoring plots in south-eastern Norway were considered to be healthy or slightly damaged, and only 8.9 % to be severely damaged. In 2015, 51.7 % were dead, 13.5 % severely damaged and only 25.7 % remained healthy or slightly damaged. To assess the infection pressure and spore dispersal patterns of the pathogen, we used a Burkard volumetric spore sampler placed in an infested ash stand in southern Norway. We examined the airborne ascospores of H. fraxineus and H. albidus captured on the sampling tape microscopically and with real-time PCR assays specific to these fungi. We detected very few ascospores of H. albidus, whereas ascospores of H. fraxineus dominated throughout entire sampling periods of 2009, 2010 and 2011. Spore discharge occurred mainly between the hours of 5 and 8 a.m., though the distinctive sporulation had yearly variation between 5-7 a.m. We observed the same diurnal pattern throughout the entire sampling period, with a seasonal peak in spore liberation between mid-July and midAugust, after which the number of ascospores decreased substantially. Similar diurnal patterns were observed throughout the sampling period except that after mid-August the number of trapped ascospores substantially decreased. To compare the genetic pattern of common ash in the northern and central ranges of Europe we analyzed the Norwegian samples together with available samples from central Europe by using chloroplast and nuclear microsatellite markers. We found that the northern range of common ash was colonized via a single migration route that originated in eastern or south-eastern Europe with little influence originating from other southern or western European refugia. In the northern range margins, genetic diversity decreased and population differentiation increased, coherent with a post-glacial colonization history characterized by founder events and population fluctuations. Based on our findings we discuss the future management and conservational implications.

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Abstract

During post glacial colonization, loss of genetic diversity due to leading edge effects may be attenuated in forest trees because of their prolonged juvenile phase, allowing many migrants to reach the colonizing front before populations become reproductive. The northern range margins of temperate tree taxa in Europe are particularly suitable to study the genetic processes that follow colonization because they have been little affected by northern refugia. Here we examined how post glacial range dynamics have shaped the genetic structure of common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) in its northern range compared to its central range in Europe. We used four chloroplast and six nuclear microsatellites to screen 42 populations (1099 trees), half of which corresponded to newly sampled populations in the northern range and half of which represented reference populations from the central range obtained from previously studies. We found that northern range populations of common ash have the same chloroplast haplotypes as south-eastern European populations, suggesting that colonization of the northern range took place along a single migration route, a result confirmed by the structure at the nuclear microsatellites. Along this route, diversity strongly decreased only in the northern range, concomitantly with increasing population differentiation and complex population substructures, a pattern consistent with a leading edge colonization model. Our study highlights that while diversity is maintained in the central range of common ash due to broad colonizing fronts and high levels of gene flow, it profoundly decreases in the northern range, where colonization was unidirectional and probably involved repeated founder events and population fluctuations. Currently, common ash is threatened by ash dieback, and our results on northern populations will be valuable for developing gene conservation strategies.

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Abstract

Boreal species were repeatedly exposed to ice ages and went through cycles of contraction and expansion while sister species alternated periods of contact and isolation. The resulting genetic structure is consequently complex, and demographic inferences are intrinsically challenging. The range of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Siberian spruce (Picea obovata) covers most of northern Eurasia; yet their geographical limits and histories remain poorly understood. To delineate the hybrid zone between the two species and reconstruct their joint demographic history, we analysed variation at nuclear SSR and mitochondrial DNA in 102 and 88 populations, respectively. The dynamics of the hybrid zone was analysed with approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) followed by posterior predictive structure plot reconstruction and the presence of barriers across the range tested with estimated effective migration surfaces. To estimate the divergence time between the two species, nuclear sequences from two well-separated populations of each species were analysed with ABC. Two main barriers divide the range of the two species: one corresponds to the hybrid zone between them, and the other separates the southern and northern domains of Norway spruce. The hybrid zone is centred on the Urals, but the genetic impact of Siberian spruce extends further west. The joint distribution of mitochondrial and nuclear variation indicates an introgression of mitochondrial DNA from Norway spruce into Siberian spruce. Overall, our data reveal a demographic history where the two species interacted frequently and where migrants originating from the Urals and the West Siberian Plain recolonized northern Russia and Scandinavia using scattered refugial populations of Norway spruce as stepping stones towards the west.

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Abstract

Rapporten gir en oversikt over granas (Picea abies) utbredelse, taksonomi og genetisk variasjon som en bakgrunn for å vurdere om planting av norske og utenlandske provenienser av gran kan ha ulike effekter på stedegent biologisk mangfold. Ifølge oppdraget skal en slik vurdering gis på bakgrunn av en sammenstilling av eksisterende kunnskap. Granas utbredelse i Europa er delt i et nordlig og et sørlig område som utgjør to klart adskilte genetiske grupper, sannsynligvis som følge av isolasjon gjennom flere istider. I nord danner gran et sammenhengende område som dekker nesten hele Fennoskandia, Estland, Latvia, Litauen, Hviterussland, nordre deler av Polen og den europeiske delen av Russland. I sør opptrer grana hovedsakelig langs fjellkjedene i sentrale og sørøstlige deler av Europa. I Norge er gran hovedsakelig utbredt i østlige og sentrale deler av landet, med spredte populasjoner i indre strøk av Vestlandet og i Øst-Finnmark. Både paleodata og genetiske data viser at grana vandret inn til Norge fra et stort Russisk istidsrefugium langs både nordlige og sørlige innvandringsveier. Samtidig tyder genetiske data på at grana også har overlevd siste istid i Skandinavia. Det finnes møtesoner i Skandinavia fra både et østlig og et vestlig refugium med genetiske subgrupper som følge av de ulike historiske prosessene. Videre bidrar genflyt over store avstander til genetisk homogenisering. Proveniens (fra latin «provenir» – komme fra, opprinnelse) henviser til områdene der et treslag vokser eller stedsopprinnelsen til frø eller trær, og er ikke et taksonomisk begrep. Ulike provenienser av gran fra flere europeiske land, særlig fra Tyskland og Østerrike, har blitt benyttet i flere tiår til skogplanting i Norge. Slike utenlandske provenienser kan skille seg i adaptive økologiske egenskaper som fenologi, hardførhet mot frost og kulde, evne til frøproduksjon og frøspredning, noe som igjen kan føre til ulik vekst- og spredningspotensiale. Granplanting påvirker det stedegne biologiske mangfoldet betydelig gjennom redusert lystilgang, endret vannbalanse og næringsomsetning i jorda. Man kunne således anta at de proveniensene av gran som har best vekstegenskaper ville påvirke den stedegne biodiversiteten mest. Imidlertid har søk i internasjonale databaser, så vel som forespørsler til miljø- og skogforskningsinstitusjoner i Europa, ikke avdekket noe litteratur eller erfaringsbasert kunnskap som bekrefter dette. Forskning på temaet er trolig ikke-eksisterende. Selv om ulike provenienser av gran skulle påvirke stedegent biologisk mangfold ulikt, vil slike forskjeller høyst sannsynlig være marginale, sammenlignet med effektene av selve granplantingen, der plantetetthet, skjøtsel av plantefeltene, endret jordkjemi og lysforhold er det viktigste påvirkningsfaktorene på biologisk mangfold. Norway spruce, provenance, afforestation, forestry, taxonomy, genetic variation, paleobotany, biodiversity, ecological traits, risk assessment, gran, proveniens, skogplanting, skogbruk, taksonomi, genetisk variasjon, paleobotanikk, biodiversitet, økologiske egenskaper, sårbarhetsanalyse

Abstract

During the Last Glacial Maximum, the boreal vegetation was greatly restricted. Climatic variation between regions had different impact on the glacial and postglacial history of tree species, resulting in contrasting distribution of genetic diversity. Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Siberian spruce (P. obovata) are two closely related species which parapatric ranges cover almost the entire boreal region of Eurasia; a vast region that experienced contrasting glacial histories. In the present study we combined extensive paleobotanical and genetic data to reconstruct the joint histories of the two species and to evaluate how their glacial and postglacial histories have affected their genetic structure. Today, Norway spruce and Siberian spruce are clearly genetically differentiated in mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear SSR markers, suggesting that the two species had largely independent glacial histories. Nuclear SSR markers indicate the presence of hybrid individuals on both sides of the Urals and east-west longitudinal genetic structures indicate a wide zone of hybridization. The border for mtDNA is situated along the Ob River in Siberia. Along this river and eastwards, latitudinal genetic structures were weak. In Norway spruce, rather complex population genetic structures are revealed as a result of multiple refugia and contrasting recolonization patterns. The current distribution of Norway spruce is divided into a southern and a northern domain. Coherent with the paleodata, both mtDNA and SSR loci suggest a long lasting separation between these two domains, which however, did not preclude secondary contacts. Within the southern domain, mtDNA and paleodata suggest the presence of several refugia, a pattern that nuclear SSR loci fail to reveal probably reflecting pollen mediated gene flow. In the northern domain, the same data support the recolonization of Scandinavia during the mid Holocene from a large and scattered refugium located on the East European Plain. Recolonization took place along different migration routes, and diversity evolved differentially along these routes. The complex genetic structure at nuclear SSRs in the northern Norway spruce domain may be due to gene flow from the southern domain, gene flow from the hybrid zone along the Ural Mountains and expansion from a separate refugium along the Atlantic coast. The latter is suggested by ancient DNA, the presence of a Scandinavia endemic mitochondrial haplotype and possibly, the current structure at SSR loci, where the origin of a distinct genetic cluster in Central Scandinavia remains to be elucidated. The implications of these findings for the response of the boreal forest to climate, forest management and breeding will be discussed.

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Abstract

Birks et al. question our proposition that trees survived the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Northern Scandinavia. We dispute their interpretation of our modern genetic data but agree that more work is required. Our field and laboratory procedures were robust; contamination is an unlikely explanation of our results. Their description of Endletvatn as ice-covered and inundated during the LGM is inconsistent with recent geological literature.

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Abstract

Seedlings of open pollinated Picea abies families from Norwegian and Central European parent trees standing at three sites in Norway were tested for timing of bud set at the end of the first growth season together with seedlings from control provenances producing seeds at their geographical origin. The parental origins were confirmed with a maternally inherited mitochondrial marker that distinguishes trees of the Northern European range from those of the Central European range. The seedlings from the families of Central European mother trees producing seeds in Norway had on average a bud set more similar to the families of local Norwegian origin producing seeds at the same site than the provenance of the same Central European origin. It is argued that the rapid change in this adaptive trait from one generation to the next can be explained by recent research results demonstrating that day length and temperature conditions during embryo formation and maturation can influence the phenotypic performance of seedlings in Norway spruce. This effect may influence the fitness of naturally regenerated plants produced in plantations of Central European trees in Norway.