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Acclimation and migration potential of a boreal forest tree, balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) in a changing climate

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dc.contributor.author Robertson, Amanda L.
dc.date.accessioned 2014-04-24T23:30:47Z
dc.date.available 2014-04-24T23:30:47Z
dc.date.issued 2012-12
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11122/3222
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2012
dc.description.abstract In the North American boreal forest, 21st century climate change is projected to result in longer growing seasons, increased forest productivity, and northward expansions or shifts in species ranges. These projected impacts are largely based on observations across natural temperature gradients, e.g., latitude or altitude, or correlations between current species' distributions and modern climate envelopes. These approaches, although valuable, do not consider biological capacities important in a species' ability to cope with novel environments through physiological or phenological acclimation. Within a single species, adaptation to local environments may cause some populations to respond differently to climate change than others. Acclimation (phenotypic plasticity) is often treated as a separate phenomenon from local adaptation, but the latter may determine the range of acclimation responses or thresholds. To more accurately predict how boreal tree species will respond to a directionally changing climate, it is necessary to experimentally examine the effects of warming on the growth and physiology of individual species and how those effects differ across a species' range. This research investigated how tree growth responses to increasing temperature are influenced by differences in adaptation and acclimation across the latitudinal range of the North American boreal forest tree, Populus balsamifera L. (balsam poplar). Warming experiments, both in the greenhouse and in the field, indicated that growth of balsam poplar trees from a broad latitudinal gradient responds positively to increased growing temperatures, with increases in height growth ranging from 27-69 % in response to 3-8 °C average warming. Genotypes from southern populations grew consistently taller in both field and greenhouse experiments. The field experiment enabled investigation into the effects of warming and source latitude on balsam poplar phenology; both experimentally warmed and southern individuals grew larger and exhibited longer growing seasons (more days of active growth). Lastly, I describe a theoretical/methodological framework for exploring the role of epigenetics in acclimation (plasticity) and adaptation to changing environments. The results from these experiments are integrated with information on adaptive gradients in balsam poplar to predict both the in situ responses of balsam poplar to increased temperatures, and the potential for northward range shifts in the species. en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents General Introduction -- Latitudinal variation in growth responses to experimental warming in the boreal forest tree, balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) -- Acclimation and adaptation potential of balsam poplar, Populus balsamifera L., in a changing climate -- The role of epigenetics in plant adaptation -- General conclusions -- Appendix 1 en_US
dc.title Acclimation and migration potential of a boreal forest tree, balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) in a changing climate en_US
dc.type Thesis
dc.type.degree phd
dc.identifier.department Department of Biology and Wildlife
dc.contributor.chair Olson, Mattew
dc.contributor.chair Takebayashi, Naoki
dc.contributor.committee Wolf, Diane E.
dc.contributor.committee Chapin, Stuart F. III


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