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Functional and molecular adaptation of different provenances of Quercus pubescens to climatic extreme events (FORKAST)

Functional adaptation of Quercus pubescens

From 09/2009 to 12/2012

Principal Investigator: Camilla Wellstein, Carl Beierkuhnlein, FORKAST TP 1

The climate of Bavaria as well as Europe shows a rise in temperature by 1.0 degrees in the last century. This trend intensified in the last decade. With almost constant annual rainfall, both, spring rainfall and sometimes summer rainfall are lacking, leading to drought events. Due to the increasing climatic instability, late frost events are also expected. These changes can have a major impact on the growth of trees and other plants. It is therefore of great interest to explore the molecular physiological basis of adaptation mechanisms to drought. In addition, the effects of late frost event in May 2011 and functional responses are investigated. In the event III experiment, we examine these processes on the basis of various European provenances of downy oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.). This oak occurs in Bavaria as a relic of warmer times. In the last decades it has markedly increased its cover within its range in Central Europe, for example in Switzerland. In the event III experiment, studies in the stress-physiology of individuals of different provenances are conducted in order to detect differences in the ecophysiological and molecular genetic response to water stress (candidate gene expression). By that, we can achieve knowledge about the ecological consequences of drought in relation to the possible genetic makeup of the downy oak. In terms of late frost events, we investigate the role of different phenological and physiological states. A contribution to understanding the impacts of climate change on key species can therefore be delivered. The project is part of the research network FORKAST in cooperation with the Ecological Botanical Garden, the Laboratory of Isotope Biogeochemistry, and the Central DNA analysis at the University of Bayreuth.

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