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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Oliver Gailing

Committee Member 1

Martin Jurgensen

Committee Member 2

Evan Kane


Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides, Michx.) is a fast growing tree which is broadly distributed in North America. It reproduces both clonally through root suckers and sexually through seeds. In order to assess the effect of postharvest treatment on genotypic diversity and structure and on phenotypic trait expressions, we analyzed a total of 323 stems in three control plots and in three treatment plots in Long-Term Soil Productivity study site at Ottawa National Forest with heavy soil compaction and forest floor removal at seven highly variable microsatellite markers and for 25 phenotypic traits. Overall higher spatial aggregation of ramets from the same clonal assemblies and spatial separation of different clonal assemblies was observed in the treatment plots as compared to control plots. Phenotypic and genetic clonal delineation showed a high correspondence in two treatment plots with the most pronounced spatial genetic structure. Phenotypic delineation of clonal colonies was not possible in other plots where clonal colonies were spatially intermixed or occupied a large area. Heavy soil compaction and forest floor removal might have restricted the spread of clonal colonies in treatment plots. While treatment had little effects on genetic and phenotypic separation among plots, very high genetic differentiation was found among most plots with amaximum pairwise RST differentiation of 35.8%. One treatment plot was strongly differentiated phenotypically from all other plots likely as result of micro-environmental variation. Consequently, micro-environmental variation and genetic differences among plots should be considered when treatment effects on phenotypic trait expression are analyzed.