New FWF Lise Meitner project: Conserving intraspecific diversification of mountain plants in the Pyrenees

High mountain plant species have been strongly affected by past climate fluctuations such as the Pleistocene glaciations. These events have shaped the current distributions of alpine species and their intraspecific genetic lineages alike, which survived the glaciations in reduced areas named refugia.
190307-conserving-intraspecific-diversification

High mountain plant species have been strongly affected by past climate fluctuations such as the Pleistocene glaciations. These events have shaped the current distributions of alpine species and their intraspecific genetic lineages alike, which survived the glaciations in reduced areas named refugia.
Climate change is expected to strongly influence and threaten alpine plant species, and it is therefore necessary to urgently propose strategies to most efficiently protect them. A main prerequisite is to achieve knowledge on which areas of a mountain range do not only harbor high species diversity, but are also important for the preservation of unique genetic lineages.

Within our project, we will study the intraspecific diversity of nine high mountain species endemic to the Pyrenees, aiming at finding common patterns of distribution of intraspecific diversity to set conservation strategies. To achieve this aim, we will integrate genetic results obtained by including next generation sequencing with models of species distribution and estimation of genome size. The project will be conducted from 2018 to 2020 in collaboration between the University of Innsbruck, the University of Vienna and the Real Jardín Botánico in Madrid. The P.I. and postdoc researcher in the project is Pau Carnicero, the co-applicant is Peter Schönswetter.

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