The Dean lab are exploring the ecological significance of natural variation in flowering and vernalization through field experiments in Sweden.
Plants from each of the 330 Swedish accessions (and certain inbreds) have been planted in September in multiple sites in the south (near the original collection sites Ullstorp and Varhallana) and in the north of Sweden (the High Coast area near Lovvik and Faberget).
The flowering time, branching characteristics and fitness are determined in April once the snow has gone.
These reciprocal transplant experiments will establish how adapted these particular accessions are for local microhabitats.
Selection experiments are also being undertaken at the same sites to identify allelic variation important for adaptation.