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Genetic variation in the susceptibility of Eucalyptus globulus to drought damage

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 15:30 authored by Greg DutkowskiGreg Dutkowski, Bradley PottsBradley Potts
Genetic variation in drought damage in Eucalyptus globulus was studied in a sublined trial series across four neighbouring sites in Western Australia linked by ten common families. The trials included approximately 400 open-pollinated families, encompassing 51 native stand collection localities and 19 subraces from throughout the geographic range of the species. Data were analysed using mixed models, with spatial analysis used to better identify genetic effects. Significant subrace differences in drought damage were detected, with both broad-scale, regional and localised clines evident. The quantitative genetic differentiation between subraces as measured by QST (0.39±0.091) was significantly greater than the FST for neutral marker expectations and consistent with diversifying selection shaping the patterns of subrace divergence in drought susceptibility. This conclusion is supported by the significant association of subrace drought susceptibility with bioclimatic parameters, particularly those associated with temperature seasonality. Less drought damage was observed in subraces originating from areas with more temperature seasonality, but also less radiation and rainfall seasonality, less winter rainfall, higher radiation and higher temperatures in the warmest month. Significant additive genetic variation in drought damage was detected within subraces, with narrow-sense heritabilities ranging from 0.14 to 0.20. We argue that spatial genetic variation in drought susceptibility of E. globulus has been shaped by natural selection acting at multiple scales and discuss opportunities for exploiting this genetic variation in breeding and deployment programs.


Australian Research Council

SeedEnergy Pty Ltd

Southern Tree Breeding Association


Publication title

Tree Genetics & Genomes










School of Natural Sciences



Place of publication

Tiergartenstr 17, Heidelberg, 69121 Germany

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 Springer-Verlag

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Hardwood plantations

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