Second paper published by Anastasia Atucha in the journal Forests

Bangor University Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS 2) PhD candidate Anastasia Atucha has published her second paper, a systematic map of methods for measuring the frost tolerance of conifers, in a Special Issue of the journal Forests. Anastasia’s research is focused on the frost tolerance of the conifer Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), which has involved phenotyping samples collected from all over Great Britain.

Frost tolerance is the degree to which a plant can resist damage when exposed to sub-freezing temperatures. Freezing damage can negatively affect the productivity and wood quality of commercial tree plantations. In order to breed for tolerance to freezing, frost tolerant trees should be identified and separated from sensitive trees. To do this, freezing tolerance of individual trees, or tree varieties, must be reliably and robustly assessed, to ensure that extraneous factors do not affect the results. This systematic map examines the academic literature to the year 2020 where frost tolerance was measured, and critically examines the techniques used.

Anastasia says, “This is the guide to frost tolerance phenotyping techniques I wish I had when I started my PhD. I did a lot of thinking into every part of the design process and used my experience with the practical side to gain insight into the state of the field.

It is a useful start for anybody who is just starting to design an experiment to measure frost tolerance with conifers. It gives you an idea of what is out there and how most experiments are run.”

Dr Andy Smith, co-supervisor, said “Anastasia’s systematic map provides an up-to-date and critical appraisal of techniques for measuring frost tolerance that will have utility to both new and experienced researchers studying frost tolerance in conifers. I expect the article will be highly cited.”

Anastasia’s PhD research project is supported by Maelor Forest Nurseries Ltd. and the KESS 2 European Social Fund  through the Welsh Government and is supervised by Dr Andy Smith and Dr Katherine Steele at Bangor University. The full published paper can be viewed at: