How glacial history, selection, and current gene flow affect alpine plant
Widespread species show high levels of genetic variation and adaptation to particular local conditions. Molecular studies demonstrated the impact of glacial history and migration pattern on the genetic signatures of alpine plants, indicating that population-connectivity and gene flow was not strong enough to mask the effect of isolation in different regions. However, it is not well known to what extend glacial history and corresponding molecular pattern in alpine plants are reflected in phenotypic variation and local adaptation at the scale of the European Alps.
Here, we studied how glacial history, selection and current gene flow affect population differentiation, local adaptation and population dynamics in widespread alpine plants. We performed experiments in the common garden and reciprocal transplantation with plant material from the entire alpine elt in order to separate effects from historic and current processes on genetic and phenotypic characteristics of the plants. By including experiments on current gene flow colonisation of suitable habitats, and metapopulatioan dynamics in a real landscape this project links processes operationg at different time and spatial scales.
Eva S. Frei, Johannes F. Scheepens, Patrick Kuss
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