Rapid climate change is the largest threat to natural forests and their ecosystems, therefore genomic information is key to understand the capacity of natural populations to adapt to new environmental conditions and diseases, and to develop effective conservation and management strategies. Research in our lab focuses on understanding the genomic and evolutionary basis of adaptation to changing environments in natural populations of tree species. The main part of our current research takes quantitative and population genomics approaches to discover genes underlying phenotypic traits of interest and associations with environmental variables. Additionally, at a broader scale, we use comparative genomics to understand the process of adaptive evolution across different seed plant lineages, and the evolution of genes and gene families involved in environmental stress responses.

Main lines of research:

  • Genomics of local adaptation to climate
  • Genomics of complex traits and applications to tree breeding
  • Hybridization and the maintenance of species barriers
  • Gene family and genome evolution
  • Landscape genomics
  • Epigenomics

Active research projects:

  • Epigenomics of disease resistance in sugar pine
    • [collaborators: Wegrzyn, Sniezko, McEvoy; funding: NIFA]
  • Transcriptomics and physiological responses to drought in Ponderosa pine
    • [collaborators: Kolb, Dixit; funding: NAU]
  • Genomics of quantitative resistance to the fungal pathogen white pine blister rust in sugar pine
  • Hybridization and the genomics of cold and drought adaptation in Douglas fir
    • [collaborators: Wilhite; funding: NAU, NIFA]
  • Expression and gene family evolution of the LEA gene family
    • [collaborators: Liu; funding: NAU]

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