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Abstract Detail


Systematics Section / ASPT

Levings, Carolyn [1], Dawe, Janice C. [1], Barber, Valerie [2].

Preliminary Morphological Analyses of Betula spp. from Three Locations in Alaska.

Recent interest in developing a value-added hardwood industry in Alaska and, in particular, interest in developing the pharmaceutical potential of birch bark, prompted initiation of a study to consider the physical, mechanical and chemical properties of Alaskan birch. Initial samples show that the chemical composition of birch bark differs in populations drawn from north and south of the Alaska Range. This finding convinced us to look more closely at the taxonomic relationships among Alaska’s three tree species— Betula neoalaskana Sargent, B. papyrifera Marshall, and B. kenaica W.H. Evans—and to consider the possibility that birch populations with the highest pharmaceutical and/or wood products potential might have resulted from hybridization amongst the three tree species, and perhaps between these and Alaska’s two shrub birch species, Betula nana ssp. exilis (Sukaczev) Hultén and B. glandulosa Michaux. By the end of the 2007 field season, sixteen populations across south central and Interior Alaska will have been sampled. To date, trees have been collected in the Fairbanks and Wasilla areas, and samples of bracts, fruits, leaves and bark have been taken from trees and shrubs in Fairbanks, Wasilla and the Kenai Peninsula. Initial morphological measurements are being combined with the phytochemical data and analyzed taxonomically. Bracts and fruits have been photographed using SEM in order examine microscopic characteristics not visible under a light microscope. Leaves and bark are being photographed using ESEM to determine whether useful characteristics are found in these organs. Initial analyses support the hypothesis that a suite of phenotypic characters differentiate the Kenai Peninsula hybrid swarm from the parental species growing in the same area, as well as from the populations growing in Wasilla and Fairbanks. Further analyses will be conducted.


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1 - University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Forest Sciences, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, P. O. Box 757200, 303 O'Neill, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7200, USA
2 - University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Sitka Forest Products Program, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, P. O. Box 6410, Sitka, AK, 99835, USA

Keywords:
Alaska
Betula
natural hybrids
morphology.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: P59010
Abstract ID:2267


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