Does Hybridization Transfer Ecologically Important Traits Between Species? The Case of the Unusual Grand Fir of Central Idaho
This study will examine the currently nknown genetics of grand fir (Abies grandis), one of the major trees of the Pacific Northwest. It has been hypothesized that throughout a major portion of its range, the species has been fundamentally altered by ancient hybridization with concolor fir (Abies concolor). We will test this hypothesis using molecular genetic and stable isotope tools. Hybridization may have increased tolerance to drought, disease, and insect attack in some populations. Understanding these characteristics may be important in future reforestation efforts.