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Imprints of glacial refugia in the modern genetic diversity of Pinus sylvestris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271 - 282
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume15 (3)
DatePublished - May 2006


Aim. To understand the impact of glacial refugia and migration pathways on the modern genetic diversity of Pinus sylvestris. Location. The study was carried out throughout Europe. Methods. An extended set of data of pollen and macrofossil remains was used to locate the glacial refugia and reconstruct the migrating routes of P. sylvestris throughout Europe. A vegetation model was used to simulate the extent of the potential refugia during the last glacial period. At the same time a genetic survey was carried out on this species. Results. The simulated distribution of P. sylvestris during the last glacial period is coherent with the observed fossil data, which showed a patchy distribution of the refugia between c. 40° N and 50° N. Several migrational fronts were detected within the Iberian and the Italian peninsulas, and outside the Hungarian plain and around the Alps. The modern mitochondrial DNA depicted three different haplotypes for P. sylvestris. Two distinct haplotypes were restricted to northern Spain and Italy, and the third haplotype dominated most of the present-day remaining distribution range of P. sylvestris in Europe. Main conclusions. During the last glacial period P. sylvestris was constrained under severe climatic conditions to survive in scattered and restricted refugial areas. Combining palaeoenvironmental data, vegetation modelling and the genetic data, we have shown that the long-term isolation in the glacial refugia and the migrational process during the Holocene have played a major role in shaping the modern genetic diversity of P. sylvestris in Europe.

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Publisher: Blackwell

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