Most temperate and boreal forest tree species exhibit local adaptation to seasonal temperature regimes. We use genotype-phenotype and genotype-environment association studies to understand the genomics architecture of growth, dormancy cycling, and cold hardiness.
American chestnut was once a keystone species of Appalachian forests, but a fungal pathogen functionally extirpated this species more than a century ago. In collaboration with The American Chestnut Foundation, we are using genomics to accelerate chestnut restoration.
Many forest trees hybridize with closely related species. We are using natural hybrids of two wide-ranging sister species – Populus trichocarpa and P. balsamifera – as a model to characterize, predict, and test how interspecific hybridization translates into variation in complex adaptive traits of economic and ecological significance.