News Release 

Tree maladaptation to current climates

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A study explores adaptation of valley oak to its current climate. The success of plant conservation strategies depends on the adequate adaptation of plants to the climates in which they grow. Focusing on the average maximum temperatures of June, July, and August, the hottest months of the year, Victoria L. Sork and colleagues combined phenotypic data from 2 common gardens with genome sequence data to determine whether valley oak, a tree species native to California, is adequately adapted to the climate conditions in which it currently grows. The authors found that valley oak populations grow faster at cooler temperatures than they are currently experiencing. Using a newly assembled genome of DNA sequences of 12 valley oak chromosomes to identify genotypes predicted to grow relatively fast in warm temperatures, the authors determined that selecting seed sources based on genotype may alleviate declining growth rates resulting from future climate warming. Continued warming under a standard emissions scenario that accounts for an average of 4.8°C increase in temperature across the valley oak range in California between 2070 and 2099 is predicted to result in a 5.6% reduction in annual growth rates. The findings suggest that new conservation methods are necessary to mitigate potential consequences of valley oak exposure to warming temperatures, according to the authors.

Article #19-08771: "Adaptational lag to temperature in valley oak (Quercus lobata) can be mitigated by genome-informed assisted gene flow," by Luke Browne, Jessica W. Wright, Sorel Fitz-Gibbon, Paul F. Gugger, and Victoria L. Sork.

MEDIA CONTACT: Victoria L. Sork, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; tel: 310-825-4959, 310-709-9290; email:


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