Plasticidade fenotípica do pinheiro bravo a alterações climáticas

UTAD/CITAB Coordinator: José Luís Penetra Cerveira Louzada

Changes in the amount and distribution of annual rainfall are expected to occur in the near future and may affect forest trees in

many ways including regeneration, growth and susceptibility to pests such as the pine wood nematode. Which will be the impact of

changes in precipitation regime, suggested by climate change scenarios, in maritime pine populations? In the present study we

intend to evaluate the impact of two precipitation scenarios, a wet and dry year by the standards of late 21st century, on distinct

Pinus pinaster populations from the three main genetic groups. Phenotypic plasticity of survival, growth, phenology, water use

efficiency and protein expression will be evaluated in these populations exposed to current and future precipitation regimes in a field

trial. These results will be complemented with the information on populations’ growth in source locations, inferred by

dendrochronology (tree-ring width and density). These time series will be used in regional climate model simulations, contributing to

project future changes in climate scenarios, and to estimate the impacts of climate change on the potential distribution of P. pinaster.

The main objective of this proposal is a better understanding of the impacts of predicted rainfall changes on maritime pine

populations. We hypothesize that:

- adaptive genetic variation is present among the main P. pinaster land races and in an altitudinal gradient

- phenotypic plasticity to climate change is reflected by survival, growth, phenology, d13C as a surrogate for water use efficiency,

differential protein expression and tree-ring width and density

- tree-ring parameters are related to climate signals and can be used in regional climate models for predictive purposes.

The specific objectives are:

1) to test if survival rate, growth rhythm, shoot phenology and WUE inferred through d13C, differ among distinct populations

exposed to different precipitation regimes imposed under open field conditions

2) to assess the impact of climatic parameters on tree-ring width and wood density components

3) to characterize protein profiles of three contrasting populations following imposition of different precipitation regimes under open

field conditions

4) to integrate results and apply them in predictive regional climate models.

We expect to characterize the populations’ variability for adaptive traits, at the phenotypic and proteomic level, under specific

precipitation regimes; to estimate the potential distribution of P. pinaster under scenarios of climate change; and to contribute with

this information to management and conservation programmes and to the delimitation of seed collection areas.

Project Details



Start date

Novembro 2010


36 months



Responsible institution

Maria Isabel Lima Almeida Miranda Correia Esteves