We are using DNA data to better understand the connectivity and recent history of populations of Quercus havardii, a Western sand dune oak.
We are working with a threatened shrub oak found in the Western US, called shinnery oak (Quercus havardii). This species is a very small tree which occurs in sand dune habitats. We are analyzing the genetic structure of this species because its populations are very small and fragmented. Small and fragmented populations could cause a conservation threat, as this can cause genetic and reproductive problems in a population. We are investigating various levels of fragmentation from local to regional to range wide, and using DNA markers in order to identify the most threatened populations and to evaluate the conservation status of the species.
The Morton Arboretum