Originally, the project included phenotypic analysis of selected traits such as budflush, budset, and height, as well as two genetic analyses aimed at uncovering any similarities in significant loci and in SNPs and functional pathways within the genetic architecture. Covid-19 curtailed our time, however, and the genetic analyses will have to wait.
Despite this, Will is excited to dive deeper into the phenotypic data analysis. Budflush and budset data have been collected for all individuals, which represent 3 replicates of 366 genotypes: 207 genotypes from the broad scale and 159 from the fine scale. After conducting an initial set of linear mixed models, budflush and budset data seem to show some evidence for local adaptation within the broad scale samples, but little evidence of parallelism between the broad and fine spatial scales.
Later this month, height data will be gathered and run through similar linear mixed models. Further analysis of all traits will assess potential parallelism from a different angle. The trend in trait response to source climate seen in the broad-scale trees will be used to predict that of the fine-scale individuals. If the actual fine-scale trend and the predicted trend are significantly similar, it will provide strong evidence for parallel evolution.