NCEAS Project 2005

Synthesis of geographical, spatial-temporal, and metapopulation models into the analysis of landscape-level genetic data of woody plants (Sabbatical Fellow)

  • Victoria L. Sork

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow1st August 1997—31st July 1998Participant List  

Abstract

The study of genetic diversity is a key element to the fields of population, conservation, and evolutionary biology. Yet, the analysis of genetic diversity of plants is often evaluated without reference to the geographical, spatial-temporal, or metapopulation dynamics of the sampled populations. A major goal of my research program is to evaluate the extent to which the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations is influenced by environmental factors associated with the landscape where these populations occur. Using data from two separate research projects, I propose to evaluate and integrate recent statistical approaches and models to construct a new synthetic approach that will allow the identification of environmental influences on the genetic structure of woody plant populations. By incorporating a multidimensional approach to the study of genetic diversity, it is possible to develop more insight about the impact of selection, gene flow, and genetic drift on evolutionary dynamics of species. Such an approach will also allow more precise models about the factors which influence genetic diversity that can be used for the development of policies surrounding land and ecosystem management.

The two projects, which have generated the opportunity for developing such models, both examine, on the landscape level, genetic diversity of woody plant species in Missouri and California, respectively. The Missouri project has generated data on current genetic diversity, mating system and progeny genetic diversity of several woody plant species distributed through the 5000 ha landscape. Because this study is part of a multi-investigator project, extensive data on the biotic and abiotic components of the Ozark ecosystem are available that are being incorporated into a Geographical Information System (GIS). The California project will generate preliminary data during the 1996/1997 year on gene flow, hybridization and genetic structure of Englemann oak distributed in fragments located throughout southern California. This project also has access to GIS data, including fragment size, locations, and shapes and Englemann oak densities, that will allow me to evaluate the role of geographical and environmental variables in patterns of genetic variation.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Dyer, Rodney; Sork, Victoria L. 2001. Pollen pool heterogeneity in shortleaf pine, Pinus echinata Mill. Molecular Ecology. Vol: 10. Pages 859-866.
Journal Article Gram, Wendy K.; Sork, Victoria L. 1999. Population density as a predictor of genetic variation for woody plant species. Conservation Biology. Vol: 13. Pages 1079-1087.
Presentations Gram, Wendy K.; Sork, Victoria L. 2000. Evaluating the effects of ecosystem management: A case study in a Missouri Ozark forest. Natural Areas Conference, October 2000. St. Louis, Missouri.
Journal Article Gram, Wendy K.; Sork, Victoria L. 2001. Association between environmental and genetic heterogeneity in forest tree populations. Ecology. Vol: 82(7). Pages 2012-2021.
Journal Article Gram, Wendy K.; Sork, Victoria L.; Marquis, R.; Renken, R.; Clawson, R.; Faaborg, J.; Fantz, D.; Le Corff, Josiane; Lill, John T.; Porneluzi, P. A. 2001. Evaluating the effects of ecosystem management: A case study in a Missouri Ozark forest. Ecological Applications. Vol: 11(6). Pages 1667-1669.
Presentations Sork, Victoria L. 1998. Genetic heterogeneity of woody plants across a Missouri Ozark landscape. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of California Irvine. Irvine, California.
Presentations Sork, Victoria L. 1998. Genetic heterogeneity of woody plants across a Missouri Ozark landscape. Department of Biology, University of California Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, California.
Presentations Sork, Victoria L. 1998. Genetic heterogeneity of woody plants across a Missouri Ozark landscape, March 1998. Departments of Biology and Botany, University of California Riverside. Riverside, California.
Presentations Sork, Victoria L. 2000. Genetic heterogeneity of woody plants across a Missouri Ozark landscape. Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources, Rutgers University.
Journal Article Sork, Victoria L.; Dyer, Rodney; Smouse, Peter; Apsit, Victoria; Westfall, Robert. 2005. A two-generation analysis of pollen pool genetic structure in flowering dogwood, Cornus florida (Cornaceae), in the Missouri Ozarks. American Journal of Botany. Vol: 92(2). Pages 262-271.