Landscape effects on the spatial distribution of genetic lineages in a widespread, generalist herb

ID: 613 / 450

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Landscape effects on the spatial distribution of genetic lineages in a widespread, generalist herb


Mareike Daubert1, Alina Persson1, Dirk C. Albach1

Affiliations: 1Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany


The majority of landscape genetic studies to this day has focused on animals, often mammals of high conservation interest. The studies conducted in plants have found a significant to no effect of landscape features on the genetic structuring of the respective species. Previously, no differentiation was found between populations of the generalist, widespread herb Veronica chamaedrys (Plantaginaceae) growing in grasslands under different management regimes. We suspect however that grassland management changes on too short timescales to affect the species and that factors inhibiting or facilitating gene flow may reveal themselves at larger geographic scales. We sampled populations along a 500 km transect from the German North Sea coast to the central German xeric zone at the lee of the Harz mountains. At each location we characterized the surrounding vegetation via Ellenberg values. Moisture and soil reaction numbers showed the strongest geographic trends with the steepest change occurring at the southern margin of the Harz mountains. We expect these marked changes to be recognizable in genotyping-by-sequencing data. The species turned out to be much rarer in the north German plain than anticipated. This could be either due to a historical lack of suitable habitat as the region used to be characterized by extensive wetlands or due to a recent extinction of populations as a result of agricultural intensification. Yet, semi-natural and natural habitats were sampled preferentially. Should populations north of the central uplands prove not to show signs of isolation, it could indicate a buffering function of gardens and public green spaces as V. chamaedrys can be frequently found in parks and mature lawns.

: 148, 6, 31

: GBS, grasslands, landscape genetics, vegetation analysis, Veronica