, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 759-772
Date: 23 Feb 2011

Relationships between early growth and Quambalaria shoot blight tolerance in Corymbia citriodora progeny trials established in Queensland, Australia

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The fungal pathogen Quambalaria pitereka can cause significant damage to spotted gum (Corymbia sp.) plantations in Australia. A series of seven progeny trials, involving seed from a range-wide collection from 527 individuals within 25 native populations of Corymbia citriodora sub-species variegata, were assessed for height growth and damage from Quambalaria around 1 year after planting. Infection at this young age has been found to detrimentally impact growth, form, and wood quality for many years. Genetic variance was found to be significant at both the provenance and family level. However, selection of families within provenances should lead to greater levels of genetic gain than what can be realized from selecting among provenances as estimates of additive genetic variance were consistently greater than estimates of variance among populations. Strong relationships between height and Quambalaria shoot blight (QSB) damage assessments in these trials were evidenced by very high genetic correlations between the traits; therefore, selection for any of these traits could be used to identify more productive and QSB-tolerant populations. While both provenances and families were found to interact with the trial environments at a similar level across traits, genetic correlations indicated that rankings for growth were be less stable than rankings for QSB tolerance across environments. Genetic parameter estimates derived from general and generalized linear models were very similar and either analytical method could be used to evaluate fungal damage.

Communicated by: R. Burdon