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Resistance, emigration, or adaptation? Phylogeography and ecology of European alpine plant species

Kropf, Matthias [2], Comes, Hans Peter [1], Kadereit, Joachim W. [1].

The genetic structure of geographically isolated populations of seven co-distributed alpine species in the Western part of the European Alpine System.

We investigated the genetic structure of geographically isolated populations of seven alpine plant species (Gentiana alpina, Kernera saxatilis, Papaver alpinum, Saxifraga oppositifolia, Saxifraga stellaris, Silene rupestris, Soldanella alpina) co-distributed in a maximum of four high-mountain ranges in Western Europe, i.e., the SW Alps, Massif Central, Pyrenees, and the Spanish Sierra Nevada. For this purpose we analyzed AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) variation. Where available, we sampled four populations of 20 individuals each per mountain range.
As a first hypothesis we expected that samples would group according to their geographical origin in cluster analyses based on genetic distances. So far, results obtained for three taxa (Gentiana alpina, Kernera saxatilis, Soldanella alpina) conform to this expectation. Populations group according to mountain range, and in most cases individuals group by population. However, in Papaver alpinum one population from the Pyrenees was more similar to the Sierra Nevada population than to other populations from the Pyrenees. We interpret this as evidence for a more complex history involving two independent Pyreneean lineages.
Following the advance of Quaternary climatic warming from South to North, we would expect that gene flow between the four mountain ranges was interrupted in a temporal sequence in South to North direction. In consequence, we expected a stronger genetic differentiation for example between populations from the Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees than between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, etc. Such pattern indeed was found in Kernera saxatilis. Based on the knowledge of absolute times of gene flow disruption between mountain ranges derived from palaeoclimatic data, this now allows us to pursue the major aim of our project, i.e., the establishment of a correlation of population genetic distance with absolute time since population separation. This way it is hoped to obtain a ‘molecular fingerprint clock’.

1 - Institut fuer Spezielle Botanik und Botanischer Ga, University Mainz, Bentzelweg 9, Mainz, D-55099, Germany
2 - Institut fuer Botanik, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Gregor Mendel-Str.33, Vienna, A 1180, Austria

alpine biogeography
molecular fingerprint clock
postglacial history
genetic diversity
European Alpine System.

Presentation Type: Symposium
Session: 55-3
Location: Ballroom 2 (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Wednesday, August 4th, 2004
Time: 2:15 PM
Abstract ID:67

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