Environmental change and the option value of genetic diversity

Jump A.S., Marchant R., Peñuelas J. (2009) Environmental change and the option value of genetic diversity. Trends in Plant Science. 14: 51-58.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.10.002

Resum:

Rapid anthropogenic environmental change is altering selection pressures on natural plant populations. However, it is difficult to predict easily the novel selection pressures to which populations will be exposed. There is heavy reliance on plant genetic diversity for future crop security in agriculture and industry, but the implications of genetic diversity for natural populations receives less attention. Here, we examine the links between the genetic diversity of natural populations and aspects of plant performance and fitness. We argue that accumulating evidence demonstrates the future benefit or 'option value' of genetic diversity within natural populations when subject to anthropogenic environmental changes. Consequently, the loss of that diversity will hinder their ability to adapt to changing environments and is, therefore, of serious concern. Crown Copyright © 2008.

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The altitude-for-latitude disparity in the range retractions of woody species

Jump A.S., Mátyás C., Peñuelas J. (2009) The altitude-for-latitude disparity in the range retractions of woody species. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 24: 694-701.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.06.007

Resum:

Increasing temperatures are driving rapid upward range shifts of species in mountains. An altitudinal range retreat of 10 m is predicted to translate into a ∼10-km latitudinal retreat based on the rate at which temperatures decline with increasing altitude and latitude, yet reports of latitudinal range retractions are sparse. Here, we examine potential climatic, biological, anthropogenic and methodological explanations for this disparity. We argue that the lack of reported latitudinal range retractions stems more from a lack of research effort, compounded by methodological difficulties, rather than from their absence. Given the predicted negative impacts of increasing temperatures on wide areas of the latitudinal distributions of species, the investigation of range retractions should become a priority in biogeographical research. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Microspatial population genetic structure of the Mediterranean shrub Fumana thymifolia

Jump A.S., Rico L., Lloret F., Peñuelas J. (2009) Microspatial population genetic structure of the Mediterranean shrub Fumana thymifolia. Plant Biology. 11: 152-160.
Enllaç
Doi: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2008.00109.x

Resum:

Fumana thymifolia (Cistaceae) is an insect-pollinated, gravity-dispersed evergreen shrub, which is a common component of fire-prone Mediterranean shrubland ecosystems. Despite the availability of basic knowledge on its ecology, little is known of its breeding system and no information is available on its population genetic structure. We explored the within-population genetic structure of this species using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) molecular markers and related this to predictions based on its breeding system, pollen and seed dispersal. Existing information on the reproductive ecology of F. thymifolia was supplemented by artificial pollination experiments. We determined that self-fertilisation can occur in F. thymifolia but results in reduced fruit set. Significant genetic structuring was detected within the population, a likely consequence of localised seed dispersal in combination with a mixed mating system. In a study site covering approximately 0.5 ha, amova revealed that approximately 9% of genetic variability was distributed among population subsamples. Significant spatial genetic structure was detected, with kinship coefficients being significantly elevated above the null expectation in the first six distance classes (maximum 5 m), and a value of Sp of up to 0.0342, comparable with species having similar ecological characteristics. Weak isolation by distance at the plot scale was detected, suggesting that insect-mediated pollen flow is non-random, despite being more extensive than seed dispersal. Fumana thymifolia provides a promising model for the investigation of both short- and long-term population dynamics in relation to fire frequency within this plant community. © 2008 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

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