Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. Jian Yang

Second Advisor

Dr. John Lhotka


This research assesses the effects of silvicultural thinnings, varying in residual basal area and number of thinnings, on genetic diversity and relatedness of white oak (Quercus alba L.). The objectives were to (1) develop microsatellite DNA markers (simple sequence repeats, SSRs) for assessing the genetic diversity of white oak and (2) determine if thinnings significantly change the degree of diversity and relatedness in white oak stands. For objective 1, 84 primer pairs from previously predicted genomic SSRs of white oak were evaluated for consistent PCR amplification and polymorphism. Twenty of the 84 primer pairs amplified consistently and were confirmed to be polymorphic. For objective 2, 16 markers were amplified across 225 white oak trees sampled from seven half-acre plots from a thinning experiment on the Daniel Boone National Forest. Measurements of heterozygosity, total and effective allele numbers, deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and pair-wise genetic relatedness were calculated using GenAlEx 6.5. Analysis suggests that thinning decreases observed heterozygosity relative to expected and relatedness between trees in thinned treatment plots compared to plots that were not thinned. Consideration of genetic effects should be made when thinning white oak stands to maintain genetic diversity while enhancing reproductive success and future stand establishment.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Cooperative agreement with the Department of Forestry and the Forest Health Research and Education Center, 2014-2019