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Ms Myralyn Abasolo

My Abasolo-profileMs Myralyn Abasolo

PhD student

Topic: Assessing and managing the risk of gene flow from Corymbia plantations

Southern Cross University


Spotted gums (Genus Corymbia Section Politaria) are the most extensively planted taxa for subtropical hardwood forestry in Australia, with more than 15 000 hectares of young plantations established in south-eastern Queensland and northern NSW in the past decade. These plantings, along with plantings of a commercial hybrid with Corymbia torelliana, represent a potential source of foreign genes that may introgress into nearby native forests. In order to better understand the risks of gene flow that may be associated with these plantings, and help develop strategies to manage this risk, I will be studying patterns of flowering phenology in planted and native Corymbia species.

My first objective is to characterise precocity and seasonality of flowering in different Corymbia taxa. Plots for long-term observations of floral development and seasonality of flowering are being established in key planted taxa of different age and location, along with plots of native forest species (mainly spotted gums and related bloodwoods). My second objective is to characterise within-taxon variation in flowering time and precocity in Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata (by far the most important planted taxon) using existing genetic trials planted across the estate.  The third phase of my project will use common sets of provenances and families in existing genetic trials in different parts of the estate to assess the impact of the climate, environment and genotype-by-environment interactions on flowering.  Finally, a range of morphological, chemical and molecular markers will be evaluated using materials from common garden trials, for their suitability to identify hybrids between planted and native taxa.  Information from these experiments will be used to formulate recommendations for risk management of gene flow from Corymbia plantations.

I finished my Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños with Forest Biological Science as my major. I obtained my MSc degree in Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Management from the same institution, and developed an interest in genetic resource conservation and genetic diversity of natural populations during this time. My MSc work involved elucidating the genetic structure of a dipterocarp, a dominant timber species in the Philippines, by using microsatellite markers.

My supervisors are Dr Mervyn Shepherd (Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics, Southern Cross University), Dr David Lee (Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Forestry Division and University of the Sunshine Coast) and Dr Helen Wallace (University of the Sunshine Coast).