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Data from: Tracing the origin of Oriental beech stands across Western Europe and reporting hybridization with European beech – implications for assisted gene flow

Cite this dataset

Csilléry, Katalin; Kurz, Mirjam; Sperisen, Christoph (2023). Data from: Tracing the origin of Oriental beech stands across Western Europe and reporting hybridization with European beech – implications for assisted gene flow [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.nzs7h44w6

Abstract

The benefits and risks of human-aided translocation of individuals within the species range, assisted gene flow (AGF), depend on the genetic divergence, on the rate and direction of hybridization, and on the climate transfer distance between the host and donor populations. In this study, we explored the use of Oriental beech (Fagus sylvatica subsp. orientalis), growing from Iran to the Balkans, for AGF into European beech populations (F. sylvatica subsp. Sylvatica) that increasingly suffer from climate warming. Using samples from natural populations of Oriental and European beech and microsatellite loci, we identified 5 distinct genetic clusters in Oriental beech with a divergence (FST) of 0.15 to 0.25 from European beech. Using this knowledge, we traced the origin of 11 Oriental beech stands in Western Europe established during the 20th century. In two stands of Greater Caucasus origin, we found evidence for extensive hybridization, with 18% and 41% of the seedlings having hybrid status. Climate data revealed higher seasonality with warmer and drier summers across the native Oriental beech sites in comparison to the planting sites in Western Europe. Accordingly, we found that bud burst of Oriental beech occurred four days earlier than in European beech. Overall, our results suggest that AGF of Oriental beech could increase the genetic diversity of European beech stands and may foster introgression of variants adapted to expected future climatic conditions. Our study showcases the evaluation of the benefits and risks of AGF and call for similar studies on other native tree species.

Methods

See the Methods section of Kurz et al. 2023.

Funding

Federal Office for the Environment, Award: Untersuchungen zur Orientbuche im Kanton TG

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Award: BeechDrought

European Research Council, Award: MyGardenOfTrees