Glacial history affected phenotypic differentiation in the Alpine plant Campanula thyrsoides

Scheepens, J. F. and Frei, E. S. and Stöcklin, Jürg. (2013) Glacial history affected phenotypic differentiation in the Alpine plant Campanula thyrsoides. PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, H. 10 , e73854.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6184113

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Numerous widespread Alpine plant species show molecular differentiation among populations from distinct regions. This has been explained as the result of genetic drift during glacial survival in isolated refugia along the border of the European Alps. Since genetic drift may affect molecular markers and phenotypic traits alike, we asked whether phenotypic differentiation mirrors molecular patterns among Alpine plant populations from different regions. Phenotypic traits can be under selection, so we additionally investigated whether part of the phenotypic differentiation can be explained by past selection and/or current adaptation. Using the monocarpic Campanula thyrsoides as our study species, a common garden experiment with plants from 21 populations from four phylogeographic groups located in regions across the Alps and the Jura Mountains was performed to test for differentiation in morphological and phenological traits. Past selection was investigated by comparing phenotypic differentiation among and within regions with molecular differentiation among and within regions. The common garden results indicated regional differentiation among populations for all investigated phenotypic traits, particularly in phenology. Delayed flowering in plants from the South-eastern Alps suggested adaptation to long sub-mediterranean summers and contrasted with earlier flowering of plants experiencing shorter growing seasons in regions with higher elevation to the West. Comparisons between molecular and phenotypic differentiation revealed diversifying selection among regions in height and biomass, which is consistent with adaptation to environmental conditions in glacial refugia. Within regions, past selection acted against strong diversification for most phenotypic traits, causing restricted postglacial adaptation. Evidence consistent with post-glacial adaptation was also given by negative correlation coefficients between several phenotypic traits and elevation of the population's origin. In conclusion, our study suggests that, irrespective of adaptation of plants to their current environment, glacial history can have a strong and long-lasting influence on the phenotypic evolution of Alpine plants.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Stöcklin, Jürg and Scheepens, Johannes and Frei, Eva Silvia
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:31 Aug 2018 06:39
Deposited On:08 Nov 2013 08:29

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