Neophytou C, Heer K, Milesi P, Peter M, Pyhäjärvi T, Westergren M, Rellstab C, Gugerli F
Tree Genet Genomes 18 (2) 12 [2022-02-09; online 2022-02-09]
Rapid human-induced environmental changes like climate warming represent a challenge for forest ecosystems. Due to their biological complexity and the long generation time of their keystone tree species, genetic adaptation in these ecosystems might not be fast enough to keep track with conditions changing at such a fast pace. The study of adaptation to environmental change and its genetic mechanisms is therefore key for ensuring a sustainable support and management of forests. The 4-day conference of the European Research Group EvolTree (https://www.evoltree.eu) on the topic of "Genomics and Adaptation in Forest Ecosystems" brought together over 130 scientists to present and discuss the latest developments and findings in forest evolutionary research. Genomic studies in forest trees have long been hampered by the lack of high-quality genomics resources and affordable genotyping methods. This has dramatically changed in the last few years; the conference impressively showed how such tools are now being applied to study past demography, adaptation and interactions with associated organisms. Moreover, genomic studies are now finally also entering the world of conservation and forest management, for example by measuring the value or cost of interspecific hybridization and introgression, assessing the vulnerability of species and populations to future change, or accurately delineating evolutionary significant units. The newly launched conference series of EvolTree will hopefully play a key role in the exchange and synthesis of such important investigations. The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11295-022-01542-1.