Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 93–99 | Cite as

Rapid change in adaptive performance from one generation to the next in Picea abies—Central European trees in a Nordic environment

  • Tore SkrøppaEmail author
  • Mari Mette Tollefsrud
  • Christoph Sperisen
  • Øystein Johnsen
Original Paper


Seedlings of open-pollinated Picea abies families from Norwegian and Central European parent trees standing at three sites in Norway were tested for timing of bud set at the end of the first growth season together with seedlings from control provenances producing seeds at their geographical origin. The parental origins were confirmed with a maternally inherited mitochondrial marker that distinguishes trees of the Northern European range from those of the Central European range. The seedlings from the families of Central European mother trees producing seeds in Norway had on average a bud set more similar to the families of local Norwegian origin producing seeds at the same site than the provenance of the same Central European origin. It is argued that the rapid change in this adaptive trait from one generation to the next can be explained by recent research results demonstrating that day length and temperature conditions during embryo formation and maturation can influence the phenotypic performance of seedlings in Norway spruce. This effect may influence the fitness of naturally regenerated plants produced in plantations of Central European trees in Norway.


Picea abies Adaptive performance Provenance transfer Reproductive environment 



This work was supported by EU grant # QLK5-CT-2000-00349 and the Research Council of Norway Grant # 155041/140. Two anonymous reviewers gave constructive comments to the manuscript.


  1. Demesure B, Sodzi N, Petit RJ (1995) A set of universal primers for amplification of polymorphic noncoding regions of mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA in plants. Mol Ecol 4:129–131CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Dietrichson J (1964) The selection problem and growth rhythm. Silvae Genet 13:178–184Google Scholar
  3. Dormling I (1973) Photoperiodic control of growth and growth cessation in Norway spruce seedlings. IUFRO Working Party 2.01.4. Symposium on Dormancy in Trees, Kornik, September 5-9, 1973:1-16Google Scholar
  4. Ekberg I, Eriksson G, Dormling I (1979) Photoperiodic reactions in conifer species. Holartic Ecology 2:255–263Google Scholar
  5. Eriksson G (1995) Which traits should be used to guide sampling for gene resources? In: Baradat P, Adams WT, Müller-Starck G (eds) Population genetics and genetic conservation of forest trees. SPB, Amsterdam, pp 349–358Google Scholar
  6. Eriksson G, Ekberg I, Dormling I, Matern B, Von Wettstein D (1978) Inheritance of bud-set and bud-flushing in Picea abies (L.) Karst. Theor Appl Genet 52:3–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Holzer K (1975) Zur Identifizierung von Fichetenherkünften. Silvae Genet 24:169–175Google Scholar
  8. Howe GT, Aitken SN, Neale DB, Jermstad KD, Wheeler NC, Chen THH (2003) From genotype to phenotype: unravelling the complexities of cold adaptation in forest trees. Can J Bot 81:1247–1266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ingvarsson PK, García MV, Hall D, Luquez V, Jansson S (2006) Clinal variation in phyB2, a candidate gene for day-length-induced growth cessation and bud set, across a latitudinal gradient in European aspen (Populus tremula). Genetics 172:1845–1853CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Johnsen Ø, Dæhlen OG, Østreng G, Skrøppa T (2005a) Daylength and temperature during seed production interactively affect adaptive performance of Picea abies progenies. New Phytol 168:589–596CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Johnsen Ø, Fossdal CG, Nagy N, Mølmann J, Dæhlen OG, Skrøppa T (2005b) Climatic adaptation in Picea abies progenies is affects by the temperature during zygotic embryogenesis and seed maturation. Plant, Cell Environ 28:1090–1102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kohmann K, Johnsen Ø (1994) The timing of bud-set in seedlings of Picea abies from seed crops of a cool versus a warm summer. Silvae Genet 43:328–332Google Scholar
  13. Krutzsch P (1986) An investigation on bud set in Norway spruce (Picea abies). Swed. Univ. Agric. Sci., Dept of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology. Report 6:21–31Google Scholar
  14. Kvaalen H, Johnsen Ø (2008) Timing of bud set in Picea abies is regulated by a memory of temperature during zygotic and somatic embryogenesis. New Phytol 177:49–59PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Langlet O (1941) Kulturförsök med tysk gran av första och andra generationen (Experiments with first and second generation of German spruce). Medddelanden från Statens Skogförsöksanstalt 32:361–380. Swedish with German summaryGoogle Scholar
  16. Langlet O (1960) Mitteleuropäische Fichte in Schweden nach dem Ergebnisse des internationalen Provenienszversuches 1938. K Skogs- Lantrbr Akad Tidskr 99:259–329Google Scholar
  17. Lindgren D (1994) When do temperature events take place in Sweden and Finland? Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology. Working Report 51. p 38Google Scholar
  18. Persson A, Persson B (1992) Survival, growth and quality of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) provenances at the three Swedish sites of the IUFRO 1964/68 provenance experiment. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Yield Research. Report 29:1–67Google Scholar
  19. Rohde A, Junttila O (2008) Remembrances of an embryo: long-term effects on phenology traits in spruce. New Phytologist 177:2–5CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Sarvas R (1968) Investigations on the flowering and seed crop of Picea abies. Commun Inst For Fenn 67:1–84Google Scholar
  21. SAS Institute (2003) SAS/STAT user’s guide version 9. SAS Institute, CaryGoogle Scholar
  22. Savolainen O, Bokma F, Garcia-Gil R, Komulainen P, Repo T (2004) Genetic variation in cessation of growth and frost hardiness and consequences for adaptation of Pinus sylvestris to climatic changes. For Ecol Manag 197:79–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Skogdirektøren (1960) Retningslinjer om anvendelse av granprovenienser fra Mellom-Europa på Østlandet og Sørlandet (Recommendations on the use of Norway spruce provenances from central Europe in southern Norway). p 18Google Scholar
  24. Skrøppa T (1991) Within-population variation in autumn frost hardiness and its relationship to bud-set and height growth in Picea abies. Scand J For Res 6:353–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Skrøppa T, Dietrichson J (1986) Winter damage in the IUFRO 1964/68 provenance experiment with Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). Meddr Norsk inst Skogforsk 39:161–183Google Scholar
  26. Skrøppa T, Magnussen S (1993) Provenance variation in shoot growth components of Norway spruce. Silvae Genet 42:111–120Google Scholar
  27. Skrøppa T, Kohmann K (1997) Adaptation to local conditions after one generation in Norway spruce. For Genet 4:171–177Google Scholar
  28. Skrøppa T, Martinsen DR, Følstad A (1993) Vekst og kvalitet til mellom-europeiske granprovenienser plantet i Østfold (Growth and quality of Central-European Norway spruce provenances planted in Østfold). Reports from Skogforsk 7/93:1–20Google Scholar
  29. Skrøppa T, Kohmann K, Johnsen Ø, Steffenrem A, Edvardsen ØM (2007) Field performance and early test results of offspring from two Norway spruce seed orchards containing clones transferred to warmer climates. Can J For Res 37:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sperisen C, Büchler U, Matyas G (1998) Genetic variation of mitochondrial DNA reveals subdivision of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). In: Karp A, Isaac PG, Ingram DS (eds) Molecular tools of screening biodiversity in plant and animals. Chapman & Hall, London, pp 413–417Google Scholar
  31. Sperisen C, Büchler U, Gugerli F, Mátyás G, Geburek T, Vendramin CG (2001) Tandem repeats in plant mitochondrial genomes: application to the analysis of population differentiation in the conifer Norway spruce. Mol Ecol 10:257–263CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Tollefsrud MM, Kissling R, Gugerli F, Johnsen Ø, Skrøppa T, Ceddadi R, van der Knaap WO, Latałowa M, Terhürne-Berson R, Litt T, Geburek T, Brochmann C, Sperisen C (2008) Genetic consequences of glacial survival and postglacial colonization in Norway spruce: combined analysis of mitochondrial DNA and fossil pollen. Mol Ecol 17:4134–4150CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Vaartaja O (1959) Evidence of photoperiodic ecotypes in trees. Ecol Monogr 29:91–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Webber J, Ott P, Owens J, Binder W (2005) Elevated temperature during reproductive development affects cone traits and progeny performance in Picea glauca x engelmanii complex. Tree Physiology 25:1219–1227PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tore Skrøppa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mari Mette Tollefsrud
    • 1
  • Christoph Sperisen
    • 2
  • Øystein Johnsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Forest and Landscape InstituteAasNorway
  2. 2.Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)Federal Research Institute for ForestBirmensdorfSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations