How glacial history, selection, and current gene flow affect alpine plant (2007-2011)


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

Selected publications

Scheepens JF, Frei ES, Stöcklin J (2013) Glacial history affected phenotypic differentiation in the alpine plant Campanula thyrsoides. PLoS ONE 8(10): e73854. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073854

Frei ES, Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2012) Dispersal and microsite limitation of a rare alpine plant. Plant Ecology 213: 395-406

Frei ES, Scheepens JF, Armbruster GFJ, Stöcklin J (2012) Phenotypic differentiation in a common garden reflects the phylogeography of a widespread alpine plant. Journal of Ecology 100: 297-308.

Scheepens JF, Kuss P, Stöcklin J (2011) Differentiation in morphology and flowering phenology between two Campanula thyrsoides L. subspecies. Alpine Botany 121: 37-47