As an increasing number of ecosystems face departures from long standing environmental conditions under climate change, our understanding of the capacity of species to adapt will become important for directing conservation and management of biodiversity. Insights into the potential for genetic adaptation might be gained by assessing genomic signatures of adaptation to historic or prevailing environmental conditions. The river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh.) is a widespread Australian eucalypt inhabiting riverine and floodplain habitats which spans strong environmental gradients. We investigated the effects of adaptation to environment on population level genetic diversity of E. camaldulensis, examining SNP variation in candidate gene loci sampled across 20 climatically diverse populations approximating the species natural distribution. Genetic differentiation among populations was high (FST = 17%), exceeding previous estimates based on neutral markers. Complementary statistical approaches identified 6 SNP loci in four genes (COMT, Dehydrin, ERECTA and PIP2) which, after accounting for demographic effects, exhibited higher than expected levels of genetic differentiation among populations and whose allelic variation was associated with local environment. While this study employs but a small proportion of available diversity in the eucalyptus genome, it draws our attention to the potential for application of wide spread eucalypt species to test adaptive hypotheses.
|Publication status||Published - 05 Aug 2014|