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Patterns of genetic diversity in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) at the eastern margins of its distribution range

Elena Ciocîrlan (1), Nicolae Sofletea (1), Fulvio Ducci (2), Alexandru Lucian Curtu (1)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 6, Pages 916-922 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2446-010
Published: Dec 10, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

Collection/Special Issue: COST Action FP1202
Strengthening conservation: a key issue for adaptation of marginal/peripheral populations of forest trees to climate change in Europe (MaP-FGR)
Guest Editors: Fulvio Ducci, Kevin Donnelly


Populations located at the periphery of the species’ distribution range may play an important role in the context of climate change. These peripheral populations may contain specific adaptations as a result of extreme environmental conditions. The aim of this paper was to assess within population genetic diversity and among population differentiation in one of the most important forest tree species in Europe, European beech (Fagus sylvatica), at the eastern margins of its natural range. We analysed four peripheral, isolated populations and five core populations from the continuous natural range along the Carpathian Mountains using a set of microsatellite markers. Higher levels of genetic diversity as measured by allelic richness (7.34 vs. 6.50) and observed heterozygosity (0.71 vs. 0.59) were detected in core populations than in peripheral ones. Population differentiation was slightly higher among peripheral populations than among core, Carpathian populations. There was strong evidence of bottleneck effects in two out of the four peripheral, isolated populations. Both core, Carpathian populations and peripheral, lowlands populations share the same chloroplast haplotype suggesting a common geographical origin from the putative Moravian refuge area. Past long distance founding events with material from the Carpathian mountain chain might explain the occurrence of small, isolated beech populations towards the steppe in the south-east of Romania. Our genetic data may contribute to a better understanding of the evolutionary history of the remnants of beech scattered occurrences at the eastern margins of species’ distribution range.

  Keywords


Fagus sylvatica, Genetic Diversity, Peripheral Populations, Bottleneck Effect

Authors’ address

(1)
Elena Ciocîrlan
Nicolae Sofletea
Alexandru Lucian Curtu
Department of Forest Sciences, Transilvania University of Brasov, Sirul Beethoven-1, 500123 Brasov (Romania)
(2)
Fulvio Ducci
CREA SEL, Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria, Forestry Research Centre, I-52100 Arezzo (Italy)

Corresponding author

 
Alexandru Lucian Curtu
lucian.curtu@unitbv.ro

Citation

Ciocîrlan E, Sofletea N, Ducci F, Curtu AL (2017). Patterns of genetic diversity in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) at the eastern margins of its distribution range. iForest 10: 916-922. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2446-010

Academic Editor

Fulvio Ducci

Paper history

Received: Mar 29, 2017
Accepted: Aug 23, 2017

First online: Dec 10, 2017
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2017
Publication Time: 3.63 months

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