Rausser College of Natural Resources, Conservation and Resource Studies
The leather oak tree (Quercus durata var. durata), is widespread throughout California but found exclusively on serpentine soils. Chris McCarron’s honors thesis research, under the mentorship of Professor Richard Dodd, uses reduced genome DNA sequencing for 250 samples from 25 separate serpentine outcrops throughout Q. durata’s range. He seeks to answer several questions regarding the levels and depths of divergence among populations; spatial patterns of differentiation; genetic diversity in relation to outcrop size and proximity to other populations; whether there is evidence for a single or multiple evolutionary event; the timing of isolation events throughout its range; and if abiotic conditions such as rainfall and temperature are driving genetic divergence among populations. This will have implications for oak conservation genetics and management of populations with unique genetic structure.