In north-central Alberta, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud. var. latifolia) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) form a mosaic hybrid zone, the spatial extent of which remains poorly defined. We sought to refine the genetic and geographic distribution of this hybrid zone in western North America to provide information important in predicting future risk of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) outbreaks. We used 29 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers to discriminate lodgepole pine, jack pine, and their hybrids. We compared and contrasted spatial patterns of hybridization in northern and southern forest zones based on the colonization history of the two species. We found that patterns of introgression were more similar between the zones than expected by chance, but there were significant differences between these regions at specific loci. Using logistic regression, we created a robust predictive model to distinguish among lodgepole pine, jack pine, and their hybrids using a combination of geographic and environmental predictors. Using model selection based on Akaike information criterion, we found that location, elevation, and moisture are important predictors for species class. Quantification of the genetic differences between these two regions, combined with an accurate model for predicting the spatial distribution of lodgepole pine, jack pine, and their hybrids, provides essential information for continued effective management of forest resources.

Distribution modelling, Hybridization, Jack pine, Lodgepole pine, Mountain pine beetle
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Department of Biology

Burns, I. (Ian), James, P.M.A. (Patrick M.A.), Coltman, D.W. (David W.), & Cullingham, C. (2019). Spatial and genetic structure of the lodgepole × jack pine hybrid zone. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 49(7), 844–853. doi:10.1139/cjfr-2018-0428