2015 Atlantic White Cedar Foliage Collections

April 2015 Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Foliage Collections

April 12-18, 2015

Andrew Whittier

Location of 11 Atlantic White Cedar provenances from which foliage was collected in April of 2015 for a genetic diversity study.


April 2015 Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) Foliage Collections

April 12-18, 2015

Andrew Whittier

I. Introduction

During the 2013 cone collections of Atlantic White Cedar (AWC) from populations in Florida and Mississippi it was decided that Camcore would also collect foliage from each of the sites visited. This decision was introduced by USFS Region 8 Geneticist Barbara Crane who assisted in the 2013 collections and is the Forest Service cooperator for our AWC conservation efforts.

Foliage collections are being done from most sites from which we have collected or will collect cones in order to investigate patterns of genetic diversity of the species across the range and to compare this diversity to that of our seed collections as an evaluation of our conservation progress. Pursuant to this decision we collected foliage from cone collection sites in New Jersey and Maryland in 2014 and plan to do the same during the 2015 cone collections. Unfortunately we did not anticipate a genetic diversity study in 2012 and did not collect foliage from any of the original provenances collected in the Carolina’s and Virginia. In order to remedy this, in April of 2015 we set out to revisit some of the 2012 collection sites in order to secure foliage from what we have classified as the Southern Atlantic Seed Zone for AWC. During these foliage collections we also took time to explore and collect foliage from new stands in both eastern and western Georgia that we had read about in the literature. Securing foliage, and eventually cones, from this portion of the range will fill in a gap in our collections between South Carolina and the 2013 Gulf Coast collections in the panhandle of Florida and Mississippi.

All together this trip was successful and enjoyable with field work fitting in seamlessly between nearly daily rain showers. Foliage from 10 trees from each of 11 populations in the central portion of the AWC range was collected. On returning to Raleigh all foliage was shipped to the National Forests Genetics Lab in Placerville, CA for DNA extraction. From the 5 sites visited in Georgia I feel good about fall 2015 cone collections from 3 sites. In the eastern part of the state Fort Gordon should be targeted for a 2015 cone collection. In western Georgia cone collections are recommended at the TNC Fort Perry site, and the Pipes property along Little Whitewater Creek.

From the majority of sites visited new cone development was evident with spent catkins commonly found on trees. Similar to our conservation work with other domestic species, AWC cones on this trip were much more prevalent on trees with exposure. It was reassuring to see immature new cones on AWC trees in mid-April. During April of 2014 we explored AWC stands in New England and found we had visited too early to observe new cones. If cone development at the 11 sites visited in April of 2015 is an indicator of cone status across the range we should have successful cone collections in New England as well as Georgia in 2015. In July of 2015 I will explore stands in New England and the mid-Atlantic in order to determine which sites are suitable for cone collections during the fall. It will be interesting to investigate thehealth and cone production at the more northern AWC sites after an abnormally long, cold, and wet winter.

Foliage collections went very smooth and we are appreciative to our contacts at each site for assisting and granting us permission to complete this project. Specifically, thanks are extended to Bryan Poovey at the Great Dismal Swamp in VA, Brian Van Druten with the Alligator River NWR, Ed Correy with NC State Parks, Steven Maharrey on the Croatan National Forest,Michael Juhan with Fort Gordon in GA, Michele Elmore with The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, western Georgia private landowners Victor Prevatt, Clarissa Pipes, Martin Cozart, and John Frazer, Thomas Coleman with the Bishop Gravatt Center, Stan Hutto with SC State Parks, and Brady Beck with NC Sandhills Game Lands.

II. Methodology

Foliage collections were completed over the course of one week in mid-April of 2015. In total 13 sites were visited in 4 states. At each site material was collected from 10 trees with the majority of trees being located 100 meters or greater from their nearest neighbor. I attempted to sample from Camcore cone mother trees whenever possible but could only positively ID 6 of our pedigree tags. From each sampled tree I took four 6 inch long branch tips with healthy green foliage. Collections were done via pole and hand pruners. Samples were labeled with provenance abbreviations and sequentially with no trees being marked in the field. Due to a miscount in the field there are no trees in the 051-060 range in this collection. Samples from each tree were placed in plastic Ziploc bags and later sent to the USDA National Forest Genetics Lab in Placerville California for DNA extraction. Foliage collections using this methodology will be hopefully repeated during the fall of 2015 at sites in New England and the mid-Atlantic in order to capture foliage from sites across the northern portion of the species range.

III. Provenance Collection Data

11. Gravatt Center

Provenance Name & Number: Gravatt Center (7)

County & State: Aiken, SC

Country: USA

Latitude: N 3344.4

Longitude: W 8135.0

Elevation: 133m


Bishop Gravatt Center is located approximately 45 southwest of Columbia, SC. From Columbia head west (towards Augusta) on I-20 to exit 29/Wire Road, head north off the exit ramp. Drive one mile before turning left onto Kedron Church Road. Follow Kedron for 0.75 miles to Camp Gravatt Road. Take Camp Gravatt Road 0.75 miles into camp center.

Site Notes

It was good to return to Bishop Gravatt Center and hike around their property. After checking in with Program Director Thomas Coleman I headed over to the Sparkleberry Trail. I was again impressed with the number and size of AWC trees located along the tributary draining into the lake. In talking with Thomas it was mentioned that the February 2014 ice storm that effected nearby Fort Gordon had done extensive damage to the AWC here. During my short hike Iobserved what he was talking about. Even with the damage here I was able to easily secure foliage from 10 individual trees.

While walking the trail it was interesting to contrast the dense understory on the swampy lakeside of the trail with the open and burnt longleaf stands on the drier opposite side of the trail. Once I got closer to the lake I was able to find more AWC trees with exposure and cones, both old and new. The spacing of the first few trees collected was a bit closer than 100 meters as I underestimated the number of trees here. Tree 100 occurred on the backside of the lake and had been mowed back to inadvertently look like a hedged seedling. Even with the small height I was able to secure enough healthy foliage to collect. Had I realized there were more trees on the backside of the lake I would have likely skipped this tree. I did not collect any foliage from the trees along the powerline cut from which we collected cones from in 2012. On heading back to the truck I ran into Roy and we chatted for a bit. During this talk Roy mentioned that the AWC around the office was planted and he was uncertain of its origin.