DBG · Promoting young researchers

Stefanie Jung

Stefanie Janine Jung's work was awarded with the Prize for the Best Plant Science Master Thesis, which was carried out at Giessen University in the year 2015.

Title of the awarded thesis

"Salt tolerance and genetic variability of Prunus serotina Ehrh."

She found out that the invasive black cherry reacts differently to saline aerosols depending on their stages of development. However, a locational advantage due to an increased salt tolerance can be excluded.

The black cherry is native to Northern America and is now regarded as an invasive neophyte in many parts of Europe, as stocks of Prunus serotina have sharply increased in recent years, particularly on the German coast. Therefore the plants tolerance to saline aerosols was investigated. Groups of Prunus serotina individuals from three different stages of development each were treated with saline aerosols (0%, 5%, 28% seawater). The results suggest that seedlings react much more sensitive to saline stress than older plants. However, the salt tolerance of the black cherry does not seem to be higher than that of other plants in general, which excludes a locational advantage due to an increased salt tolerance. In addition, the genetic variability of Prunus serotina individuals from eight different locations in northern Germany was investigated by ISSR-PCR. It was found that these individual populations are not genetically differentiated from one another. The high genetic variability of Prunus serotina may benefit the plants ability to react to changing environmental conditions and thereby increase its invasive potential. In order to clarify the reasons for Prunus serotina ecological success more studies regarding its advantages over native plants need to be performed in the future.

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Stefanie Janine Jung conducted this work at the Institute for Botany in the working group of Prof. Wissemann.