Ecology and evolution of a tree species (pinus strobiformis, southwestern white pine) challenged by dual threats
Purpose: We are studying the ecological and evolutionary processes affecting the distribution of southwestern white pine, an important tree species of mixed conifer forests in the Southwest and Mexico. Southwestern white pine sustainability is threatened by changing climate, and a non-native tree disease, white pine blister rust. Climate may change too rapidly for southwestern white pine to adapt. The dual threats of climate change and invasive species make forecasting future tree distributions across continental scales an urgent challenge.
The goal is to determine how gene movement among populations, adaptation to disease and drought, heritable changes beyond DNA mutations, and a changing environment interact to govern the success of southwestern white pine. This project is developing tools to help forecast and manage the future of the species, including genomics, common gardens, tree disease resistance testing, engineering and technology innovation to measure drought tolerance, and computer modeling in landscape ecology and genomics. At NAU, the research team is using the Southwest Experimental Garden Array, a set of common gardens, that allows scientists to quantify the ecological and evolutionary responses of species to changing climate conditions.
Species: Pinus strobiformis
Principal Investigator: Kristen Waring, Kristen.Waring@nau.edu
Co-Principal Investigators: Sam Cushman, Andrew Eckert, Lluvia Flores Renteria, Richard Sniezko, Christopher Still, Christian Wehenkel, Amy Whipple, and Michael Wing
Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Scholars, and Staff: Justin Bagley, Ethan Bucholz, Jonathan Burnett, Antonio Castilla, Marja Haagsma, Jessica Hartsell, Cory Garms, Betsy Goodrich, Evan Heck, Jeremy Johnson, Erin Landguth, Alejandro Leal Saenz, Briana McTeague, Mitra Menon, Ehren Moler, Gerald Page, Andrew Shirk, Tara Steadman, Jared Swenson and Ho Yi Wan. Many undergraduate students, field and lab technicians and volunteers!
Collaborators: Socorro Gonzalez-Elizondo,James Jacobs, Nicholas Wilhelmi, Greg Reynolds, Mary Lou Fairweather, Daniel DePinte, Tom Kolb, Anna Schoettle, John Shaw, John Selker, Bureau of Indian Affairs, USDA Forest Service, Grand Canyon Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Merriam Powell Center for Environmental Research, The Arboretum at Flagstaff