Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 4:797 | Cite as

Inheritance of foliar stable carbon isotope discrimination and third-year height in Pinus taeda clones on contrasting sites in Florida and Georgia

  • Brian S. BaltunisEmail author
  • Timothy A. Martin
  • Dudley A. Huber
  • John M. Davis
Original Paper


Quantifying foliar stable carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) is a powerful approach for understanding genetic variation in gas exchange traits in large populations. The genetic architecture of Δ and third-year height is described for more than 1,000 clones of Pinus taeda tested on two contrasting sites. \(\hat h^2 \) for Δ was 0.14 (±0.03), 0.20 (±0.07), and 0.09 (±0.04) at Florida, Georgia, and across sites, respectively. \(\hat H^2 \) for stable carbon isotope discrimination ranged from 0.25 (±0.03) at the Florida site to 0.33 (±0.03) at the Georgia site, while the across-site estimate of \(\hat H^2 \) was 0.19 (±0.02). For third-year height, \(\hat h^2 \) ranged from 0.13 (±0.05) at the Georgia site to 0.20 (±0.06) at the Florida site with an across-site estimate of 0.09 (±0.05). Broad-sense heritability estimates for third-year height were 0.23 (±0.03), 0.28 (±0.03), and 0.13 (±0.02) at the Florida site, Georgia site, and across sites, respectively. Type B total genetic correlation for Δ was 0.70 ± 0.06, indicating that clonal rankings were relatively stable across sites, while for third-year height, rankings of clones were more unstable across the two trials \(\left( {\hat r_{B_{TG} } = 0.55 \pm 0.08} \right)\). Third-year height and Δ were negatively correlated at the parental \(\left( {\hat r_{ADD} = - 0.42 \pm 0.33} \right)\), full-sib family \(\left( {\hat r_{FS} = - 0.54 \pm 0.25} \right)\), and clonal \(\left( {\hat r_{TG} = - 0.30 \pm 0.11} \right)\) levels, suggesting that genetic variation for Δ in P. taeda may be a result of differences in photosynthetic capacity. We conclude that Δ may be a useful selection trait to improve water-use efficiency and for guiding deployment decisions in P. taeda.


Stable carbon isotope discrimination Clones Pinus taeda 



This research was funded by USDA-CSREES-IFAFS (Award No. 2001-52100-11315). Thanks to Rayonier and MeadWestvaco for providing access to the study sites and to the members of the University of Florida Forest Biology Research Cooperative for financial and in-kind support. We thank Brian Roth, Paul Proctor, Vanessa Tischler, Tania Quesada, and Gogce Kayihan for field and laboratory assistance. We also thank Chris Harwood and David Bush for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian S. Baltunis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothy A. Martin
    • 2
  • Dudley A. Huber
    • 2
  • John M. Davis
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Forest BiosciencesCSIROKingstonAustralia
  2. 2.School of Forest Resources and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Genetics InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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