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Survival and postglacial immigration of the steppe plant Scorzonera purpurea to Central Europe

Research paper by Christina Meindl, Veronika Brune; Daniela Listl; Peter Poschlod; Christoph Reisch

Indexed on: 04 Oct '16Published on: 01 Oct '16Published in: Plant systematics and evolution = Entwicklungsgeschichte und Systematik der Pflanzen



Abstract

Abstract Temperate grasslands belong to the most diverse plant communities of Central Europe. However, there is still a lack of information about glacial refugia and migration processes of herbaceous grassland and especially steppe species in Central Europe. Therefore, we analyzed the survival and postglacial immigration of Scorzonera purpurea to Central Europe. We investigated 348 individuals from 37 populations in Europe using amplified fragment length polymorphisms and chloroplast microsatellite analyses. Our study revealed two major genetic groups along the European distribution range consisting of western populations on the one hand and closely related central and (south)eastern populations on the other hand. Genetic variation was highest within populations from the Pannonian basin and decreased toward Western and Central Europe. Our study gives evidence for the long-term survival of S. purpurea in Western Europe and the postglacial immigration from the southeastern parts of Europe, maybe by domestic livestock of migrating farmers during the Neolithic age to Central Europe. Immigration presumably followed two routes from Pannonia along the river Danube into Southern Germany and from Pannonia along the northern border of the Carpathians to Northern Germany. In Central Germany, the different genetic lineages may have met and formed contact zones. Our data show that steppe species may both have survived in and immigrated to Western and Central Europe. Further and more detailed studies on other steppe species are, therefore, needed to investigate the origin of these rare and often endangered species more generally.AbstractTemperate grasslands belong to the most diverse plant communities of Central Europe. However, there is still a lack of information about glacial refugia and migration processes of herbaceous grassland and especially steppe species in Central Europe. Therefore, we analyzed the survival and postglacial immigration of Scorzonera purpurea to Central Europe. We investigated 348 individuals from 37 populations in Europe using amplified fragment length polymorphisms and chloroplast microsatellite analyses. Our study revealed two major genetic groups along the European distribution range consisting of western populations on the one hand and closely related central and (south)eastern populations on the other hand. Genetic variation was highest within populations from the Pannonian basin and decreased toward Western and Central Europe. Our study gives evidence for the long-term survival of S. purpurea in Western Europe and the postglacial immigration from the southeastern parts of Europe, maybe by domestic livestock of migrating farmers during the Neolithic age to Central Europe. Immigration presumably followed two routes from Pannonia along the river Danube into Southern Germany and from Pannonia along the northern border of the Carpathians to Northern Germany. In Central Germany, the different genetic lineages may have met and formed contact zones. Our data show that steppe species may both have survived in and immigrated to Western and Central Europe. Further and more detailed studies on other steppe species are, therefore, needed to investigate the origin of these rare and often endangered species more generally.Scorzonera purpureaS. purpurea