2.04.11 - Alpine forest genomics


Christian Rellstab, Switzerland

About Unit

The principle aim of this Working Party is to focus on the adaptive variation imprinted in the genomics of high-mountain forest tree species. The overall objective is to integrate established and currently developing resources, to help better understand the function and dynamics of alpine forest ecosystems, based on their key elements (carrier species), namely the trees, and their intrinsic biological character (=forest genomics). Alpine forests are among the most exposed and vulnerable forest ecosystems. It is here that climate change will act strongest, while range shifts may occur along elevational gradients over short distances in order to track spatial moves of ecological niches. One of the main objectives is therefore to find out how tree species adapt to rapid changes, where the limits of their resilience are, and how to mitigate climate change effects. The core characters of the Working Party are genomic data, including reference genomes for key species, and standard sets of genes and the genetic markers, complemented by environmental descriptors of sites. Close cooperation within the Working Party will streamline this field of research, as common standards and routines will be developed. 

State of Knowledge