During September and October the Hoban lab was quite busy - they got together to participate in a Morton Arboretum Centennial tree planting at North Central college, where they planted a Quercus muehlenbergii tree together - coincidentally the species Emily Schumacher, RA II, spent most of September collecting acorns from and potting for her USBG Hybrid Acorn project. The planting and the potting were great ways to spend some beautiful fall days!
Chloe Hendrikse, a 2022 NSF REU student, will be a REEF (Research Experience Extension Fellow) for fall 2022 and spring 2023. She will expand her research on oak hybridization. Specifically, Chloe’s using computer simulations to determine how well a commonly used method in population genetics can detect hybrids among oak species, when many species are present together (as in a botanic garden or arboretum). This research will provide advice to studies currently being designed in the Hoban and Hipp labs, and its findings will ultimately guide conservationists interested in sampling seed from rare trees in botanic gardens by answering the question “How likely is it that those seeds are ‘true’ to their parent species?”. Chloe is mentored primarily by Austin Koontz and Sean Hoban, with Emily Schumacher and Kaylee Rosenberger providing support. Chloe will improve her skills in R coding, reproducible research, and science communication.
Sean Hoban was an invited speaker, small group facilitator, and panel discussion member for a symposium hosted by the British Ecological Society on September 15th. The symposium was “Climate Change Genomics: Vulnerability, Adaptations and Applications”. Sean spoke on the day dedicated to applications and management. His talk was “Conserving genetic diversity to help species survive climate change... without having genetic data.” The talk described his work on adaptive capacity indicators and their use in global conservation policy and federal endangered species legislation, and also described Emily Beckman Bruns and Murphy Westwood’s work on gap analysis. #Audience size: 50. #Audience type: scientists and students.
Sean Hoban, Tree Conservation Biologist, gave a short talk on Friday, September 23 about his research and broadly about the resources and impact of The Center for Tree Science and The Morton Arboretum at the annual “Darwin retreat” of the University of Chicago. The event was in person at the Museum of Science and Industry. Audience size: 50, primarily graduate students and other early career people.
At the International Oak Society (IOS) conference in New Mexico, Austin Koontz (RA II) presented on his work concentrated on the difference in conservation recommendations when analyzing rare oaks with different genetic markers. Austin’s presentation shows how measures of ex situ conservation can be impacted by the use of different genetic markers, with findings from 2 rare oaks endemic to the southeastern U.S. (Quercus acerifolia and Q. boyntonii). His findings will help future studies of conservation genetics design their studies, and will help us better understand minimum sample sizes needed for conservation groves for rare oaks.
Sean Hoban gave a guest lecture (virtual) to Dr. Jill Hamilton’s Conservation Genetics class at Pennsylvania State University.
Sean Hoban, Tree Conservation Biologist, wrote an article for the September newsletter of the Center for Plant Conservation. In the article, he wrote about recent advances that his lab, and other leading conservationists, have made towards ex situ conservation. He reviewed how we can assess genetic and ecogeographic diversity in botanic garden collections, provided practical advice for seed collectors in the field, and emphasized the importance of being involved in policy making at national and global scales. You can read the article here.
Sean Hoban, Tree Conservation Biologist, contributed expertise and guidance to a recently published IUCN document, “Selecting species and populations for monitoring of genetic diversity” by Hvilsom et al., available for free here.
A major question in ex situ conservation is how many seeds or plants to conserve to ensure the species can survive in the long term. Recent work in the Hoban Conservation Biology Lab has shown that some characteristics of species are important to consider when choosing this number. In this project we tested whether one ex situ sample size could perform well for all threatened oaks. We first found that one sample size is not appropriate for all oaks- the minimum size for 14 USA threatened oaks ranged from 75 to more than 500 - not all oaks are alike! We also showed that simulations can be used to tailor the recommended size to each species’ number of populations, population fragmentation, and population sizes - we can determine the size needed for each species! This should help conserve these rare oaks, and other threatened trees more effectively.