Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-3 (3)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Genetic Differentiation of the Western Capercaillie Highlights the Importance of South-Eastern Europe for Understanding the Species Phylogeography 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23602.
The Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.) is a grouse species of open boreal or high altitude forests of Eurasia. It is endangered throughout most mountain range habitat areas in Europe. Two major genetically identifiable lineages of Western Capercaillie have been described to date: the southern lineage at the species' southernmost range of distribution in Europe, and the boreal lineage. We address the question of genetic differentiation of capercaillie populations from the Rhodope and Rila Mountains in Bulgaria, across the Dinaric Mountains to the Slovenian Alps. The two lineages' contact zone and resulting conservation strategies in this so-far understudied area of distribution have not been previously determined. The results of analysis of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences of 319 samples from the studied populations show that Alpine populations were composed exclusively of boreal lineage; Dinaric populations of both, but predominantly (96%) of boreal lineage; and Rhodope-Rila populations predominantly (>90%) of southern lineage individuals. The Bulgarian mountains were identified as the core area of the southern lineage, and the Dinaric Mountains as the western contact zone between both lineages in the Balkans. Bulgarian populations appeared genetically distinct from Alpine and Dinaric populations and exhibited characteristics of a long-term stationary population, suggesting that they should be considered as a glacial relict and probably a distinct subspecies. Although all of the studied populations suffered a decline in the past, the significantly lower level of genetic diversity when compared with the neighbouring Alpine and Bulgarian populations suggests that the isolated Dinaric capercaillie is particularly vulnerable to continuing population decline. The results are discussed in the context of conservation of the species in the Balkans, its principal threats and legal protection status. Potential conservation strategies should consider the existence of the two lineages and their vulnerable Dinaric contact zone and support the specificities of the populations.
PMCID: PMC3163590  PMID: 21897847
2.  Similar Gender Dimorphism in the Costs of Reproduction across the Geographic Range of Fraxinus ornus 
Annals of Botany  2006;99(1):183-191.
Background and Aims
The reproductive costs for individuals with the female function have been hypothesized to be greater than for those with the male function because the allocation unit per female flower is very high due to the necessity to nurture the embryos until seed dispersal occurs, while the male reproductive allocation per flower is lower because it finishes once pollen is shed. Consequently, males may invest more resources in growth than females. This prediction was tested across a wide geographical range in a tree with a dimorphic breeding system (Fraxinus ornus) consisting of males and hermaphrodites functioning as females. The contrasting ecological conditions found across the geographical range allowed the evaluation of the hypothesis that the reproductive costs of sexual dimorphism varies with environmental stressors.
By using random-effects meta-analysis, the differences in the reproductive and vegetative investment of male and hermaphrodite trees of F. ornus were analysed in 10 populations from the northern (Slovakia), south-eastern (Greece) and south-western (Spain) limits of its European distribution. The variation in gender-dimorphism with environmental stress was analysed by running a meta-regression between these effect sizes and the two environmental stress indicators: one related to temperature (the frost-free period) and another related to water availability (moisture deficit).
Key Results
Most of the effect sizes showed that males produced more flowers and grew more quickly than hermaphrodites. Gender differences in reproduction and growth were not minimized or maximized under adverse climatic conditions such as short frost-free periods or severe aridity.
The lower costs of reproduction for F. ornus males allow them to grow more quickly than hermaphrodites, although such differences in sex-specific reproductive costs are not magnified under stressful conditions.
PMCID: PMC2802980  PMID: 17098751
Costs of reproduction; Fraxinus ornus; meta-analysis; sexual dimorphism
3.  Unexpected presence of Fagus orientalis complex in Italy as inferred from 45,000-year-old DNA pollen samples from Venice lagoon 
BMC Evolutionary Biology  2007;7(Suppl 2):S6.
Phylogeographic analyses on the Western Euroasiatic Fagus taxa (F. orientalis, F. sylvatica, F. taurica and F. moesiaca) is available, however, the subdivision of Fagus spp. is unresolved and there is no consensus on the phylogeny and on the identification (both with morphological than molecular markers) of Fagus Eurasiatic taxa.
For the first time molecular analyses of ancient pollen, dated at least 45,000 years ago, were used in combination with the phylogeny analysis on current species, to identify the Fagus spp. present during the Last Interglacial period in Italy.
In this work we aim at testing if the trnL-trnF chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) region, that has been previously proved efficient in discriminating different Quercus taxa, can be employed in distinguishing the Fagus species and in identifying the ancient pollen.
86 populations from 4 Western Euroasistic taxa were sampled, and sequenced for the trnL-trnF region to verify the efficiency of this cpDNA region in identifying the Fagus spp.. Furthermore, Fagus crenata (2 populations), Fagus grandifolia (2 populations), Fagus japonica, Fagus hayatae, Quercus species and Castanea species were analysed to better resolve the phylogenetic inference.
Our results show that this cpDNA region harbour some informative sites that allow to infer relationships among the species within the Fagaceae family. In particular, few specific and fixed mutations were able to discriminate and identify all the different Fagus species.
Considering a short fragment of 176 base pairs within the trnL intron, 2 transversions were found able in distinguishing the F. orientalis complex taxa (F. orientalis, F. taurica and F. moesiaca) from the remaining Fagus spp. (F. sylvatica, F. japonica, F. hayataea, F. crenata and F. grandifolia). This permits to analyse this fragment also in ancient samples, where DNA is usually highly degraded.
The sequences data indicate that the DNA recovered from ancient pollen belongs to the F. orientalis complex since it displays the informative sites characteristic of this complex.
The ancient DNA sequences demonstrate for the first time that, in contrast to current knowledge based on palynological and macrofossil data, the F. orientalis complex was already present during the Tyrrhenian period in what is now the Venice lagoon (Italy).
This is a new and important insight considering that nowadays West Europe is not the natural area of Fagus orientalis complex, and up to now nobody has hypothesized the presence during the Last Interglacial period of F. orientalis complex in Italy.
PMCID: PMC1963477  PMID: 17767734

Results 1-3 (3)