Saxifraga aizoides


Saxifraga androsacea

Effects of provenances in Saxifraga species (2016-2018)

The European Saxifraga section comprises about 70 species, showing a high diversity of morphological-, cytological-, and ecological traits, and a high variety of life cycles (comprising annuals, biennials and perennials). One of the striking features within this genus is the high endemicity, i.e. the restriction to small distribution areas (single mountains or small mountain chains) with specific bedrocks. In this project we concentrate on endemic and wide-spread species of the Alps. While phylogenetic questions seem to be clarified, germination traits were hardly analysed in a comparative way. We expect that seeds from different provenances may significantly differ in their germination behaviour and performance. The project will test the phenotypic plasticity of Alpine Saxifraga species, comparing the germination rates of different provenances. Seeds collected by the partners within the project Alpine Seed Conservation and Research Network will be germinated in a common garden experiment, comparing three different collection sites (Western-, Southern-, Central Alps).

Research questions
-    To which extent does phenotypic plasticity occur within the Alpine Saxifraga species?
-    Do germination rates of species with wide distribution areas differ from species with restricted distribution areas?
-    Does timing of germination vary between the provenances?
-    Do maternal conditions or local adaptation impede germination/recruitment in the common garden?

David and Claudia Harding Foundation, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK)

Personnel involved
Vera Margreiter (PhD)
Brigitta Erschbamer

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