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Adaptive potential of Eucalyptus pauciflora focus of PhD study

Archana Gauli
PhD candidate
School of Plant Science
University of Tasmania

Archana Gauli recently started a PhD at UTas.

I am a CRC affiliated student at the University of Tasmania studying genetic diversity in cabbage gum, Eucalyptus pauciflora (subgenus Eucalyptus, section Cineraceae).  This species has a wide distribution, from northern New South Wales to South Australia and Tasmania, and occurs naturally from the tree line (up to 1965 m) in the Australian Alps to near sea-level in southern Victoria and Tasmania.  This species has the ability to withstand cold temperatures, dry winds and periodic drought and is currently being explored for the development of biodiverse carbon plantings in dry, cold areas of Tasmania.  My study will focus on Tasmanian and southern Victorian populations and will integrate both molecular and quantitative genetic approaches with multi-environment pedigreed field trials to provide a better understanding of the adaptive potential of tree species to changing environments.  Molecular markers will be used to provide insights into the patterns of genetic diversity, phylogeography and mating system of Eucalyptus pauciflora. This information will be linked to glasshouse studies of seedling morphology as well as assessments of growth and other adaptive traits in large field trials that were established in late 2010. Outcomes from the study will include empirical information to prepare guidelines and general strategies for identifying the most appropriate seed sources for planting genetically robust forests. The research approach adopted and the inferences and guidelines developed are expected to be replicable to other regions and similar species.

I am from Nepal, where I undertook my undergraduate training at the Institute of Forestry, Tribhuwan University, Nepal.  I subsequently undertook my M.Sc at the University of Goettingen, Germany where I studied genetic diversity of the most planted plant tree species in Nepal, Pinus roxburghii. I have a background in community forestry. I have worked in government and nongovernment organizations, focusing on sustainable community forestry. Apart from this, I have always been interested in understanding genetic diversity of plant species and gene pool conservation. I have recently published a paper from my MSc work:

Gauli A, Gailing O, Stefenon VM, Finkeldey R (2009) Genetic similarity of natural populations and plantations of Pinus roxburghii Sarg. in Nepal. Annals of Forest Science 66:703

For my PhD at the University of Tasmania, Professor Brad Potts and Associate Professor René Vaillancourt are supervising my project work with Dr Dorothy Steane and Dr Neil Davidson assisting as research supervisors.  I am funded with an Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and supported with funding from an ARC linkage grant.  As an introduction to Australian forestry issues, I have completed a unit from the National Forestry Masters course entitled: Plantation and Environmental Forestry.

My PhD studies contribute to the CRC for Forestry Project 4.2 Biodiversity, subproject 4.2.7 ‘Management of genetic resources.

Biobuzz issue thirteen, December 2010