Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Carsten Külheim

Advisor 2

Molly Cavaleri

Committee Member 1

Andrew Burton

Committee Member 2

Stephan Techtmann


This dissertation was written on topics related to the genus Quercus with a primary focus on Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak) and Quercus rubra (northern red oak). Within this dissertation are chapters related to the setup of experimental common gardens within the Ford and Kellogg experimental forest, a literature review describing drought adaptations of Quercus sect. Lobatae (red oak group), identification of transcription factors within the Q. robur (English oak) and Q. rubra genomes, a study comparing leaf trait phenotypic plasticity of Q. ellipsoidalis and Q. rubra, and an RNA-seq experiment studying ecological speciation between Q. ellipsoidalis and Q. rubra. Within these studies, I found that Q. ellipsoidalis and Q. rubra have similar leaf trait phenotypic plasticity, and unique molecular phenotypes related to upregulation of genes related to photosynthesis and innate immune response, respectively. Within the Q. rubra genome, I identified multiple regions of transcription factor gene clusters that could have a significant role related to drought adaptation for this species.