Oak Defence

BLE-WKF Phenomics of Oak defence

The project "Development of biomarkers for monitoring of pest-tolerant oak trees in different climates (Oak Defence)" is funded in the frame of the "Waldklimafonds" by the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (Förderzeichen 28W-B-4-113-02; 2018-2020).

The imminent climate change poses a major challenge for the proper and sustainable management of forests in Germany. In addition to the increased occurrence of extreme events such as drought and flooding, in particular insect calamities are predicted. The joint project between the Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics and the Helmholtz Zentrum München aims to analyze the distribution of insect-tolerant and sensitive English oaks (Quercus robur) along a climate gradient in Germany with newly developed biomarkers.

For this purpose, candidate genes and metabolites, which are responsible for the oak's constitutive and induced tolerance responses against green leaf oak roller (Tortix viridana) will be identified by quantitative transcriptomics and metabolomics. Based on trait-specific genotypic and chemotypic differences molecular and biochemical markers will be selected and used to develop easy-to-use test procedures. Initially these bioassays will be applied to phenotype populations of insect-tolerant and sensitive oak trees across different climate zones in Germany. These data will provide forecasts of the vulnerability of English oak genoytpes as a result of climate change. In addition, in tree nurseries the biomarkers will enable the early phenotyping of oak seedlings and also the characterization of certified oak seed stocks for tolerance levels. Long-term goal is to develop silvicultural recommendations for the long-term preservation of German oak forests.

Selected publications

Kersten B, Ghirardo A, Schnitzler JP, Kanawati B, Schmitt-Kopplin P, Fladung M, Schroeder S (2013) Integrated transcriptomics and metabolomics decipher differences in the resistance of pedunculate oak to the herbivore Tortrix viridana L. BMC Genomics, 14: 737

Ghirardo A, Heller W, Fladung M, Schnitzler JP, Schröder H (2012) Function of defensive volatiles in pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) is tricked by the moth Tortrix viridana. Plant, Cell & Environment 35, 2192-2207

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