Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ICE WORLD
Glacial history affects shape and growth habit of alpine plants
by Staff Writers
Basel, Switzerland (SPX) Oct 21, 2013


Climate change reflects in the morphology and genes of plants. Image courtesy University of Basel / Jurg Stocklin.

Alpine plants that survived the Ice Ages in different locations still show accrued differences in appearance and features. These findings were made by botanists from the University of Basel using two plant species. So far, it was only known that the glacial climate changes had left a "genetic fingerprint" in the DNA of alpine plants.

During the Ice Ages the European Alps were covered by a thick layer of ice. Climate fluctuations led to great changes in the occurrences of plants: They survived the cold periods in refugia on the periphery of the Alps which they then repopulated after the ice had drawn back.

Such processes in the history of the earth can be detected by molecular analysis as "genetic fingerprints": refugia and colonization routes can be identified as genetic groups within the plant species. Thus, the postglacial colonization history of alpine plants is still borne in plants alive today.

Yellow Bellflower and Creeping Avens
So far, it was unknown if the Ice Ages also affected the structure and growth habit of alpine plants. Prof. Jurg Stocklin and his colleagues from the Institute of Botany at the University of Basel were now able to proof this phenomenon in two publications.

The glacial periods have left marks on the Yellow Bellflower and the Creeping Avens that are visible to the naked eye. The ancestors of these plants survived the Ice Ages in different glacial refugia which led to the fact that today they show genetic differences in their external morphology and in important functional traits.

Notably, the Yellow Bellflower's inflorescence and timing of flowering differ between plants from the Eastern Alps and plants from the central or western parts of the Alps. Regarding the Creeping Avens, plants from the Western Alps show significantly more offshoots but have fewer flowers than those from the Eastern Alps, while the dissection of the leaves increases from West to East.

Plants are more adaptable than assumed
The Botanists from Basel further discovered that the variations within one species are partly due to natural selection. For example, the timing of flowering in the Yellow Bellflower can be explained with variability in growing season length. Plants shorten their flowering duration as adaptation to the shorter growing seasons at higher elevations.

"The findings are important for understanding the effects that future climate changes may have on plants", says Stocklin.

"The glacial periods have positively affected the intraspecific biodiversity." Furthermore, the scientists were able to show that plants are more adaptable than has been assumed previously. Climate changes do have an effect on the distribution of species; however, alpine plants also possess considerable skills to genetically adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Scheepens JF, Frei ES, Stocklin J (2013); Glacial history affected phenotypic differentiation in the Alpine plant, Campanula thyrsoides; PLOS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073854 and Eva S. Frei, J. F. Scheepens, Georg F. J. Armbruster, Jurg Stocklin; Phenotypic differentiation in a common garden reflects the phylogeography of a widespread Alpine plant; Journal of Ecology, Volume 100, Issue 2, pages 297, March 2012 | doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2011.01909.x

.


Related Links
University of Basel
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Traces of immense prehistoric ice sheets: the climate history of the Arctic Ocean needs to be rewritten
Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Oct 03, 2013
Geologists and geophysicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), discovered traces of large ice sheets from the Pleistocene on a seamount off the north-eastern coast of Russia. These marks confirm for the first time that within the past 800,000 years in the course of ice ages, ice sheets more than a kilometre thick also formed in the Arctic Ocea ... read more


ICE WORLD
LADEE Continues To Settle Into Operational Lunar Orbit

NASA's moon landing remembered as a promise of a 'future which never happened'

Russia could build manned lunar base

China unveils its first and unnamed moon rover

ICE WORLD
Phobos-Grunt-2: Russia to probe Martian moon by 2022

Russian scientists set sights on space

Heading to a High Slope for Some Sunshine

Russia to Make Second Attempt at Mars Moon Mission

ICE WORLD
Ethiopia sets sights on stars with space program

US universities make big bets on startups

Iran plans new monkey space launch

Scott Carpenter, second American in orbit, dies at 88

ICE WORLD
NASA's China policy faces mounting pressure

Ten Years of Chinese Astronauts

NASA vows to review ban on Chinese astronomers

China criticises US space agency over 'discrimination'

ICE WORLD
Aerojet Rocketdyne Thrusters Help Cygnus Spacecraft Berth at the International Space Station

First CASIS Funded Payloads Berthed to the ISS

Unmanned cargo ship docks with orbiting Space Station

New space crew joins ISS on Olympic torch mission

ICE WORLD
Russia Readies Proton Rocket for October 20 Launch

Sunshield preparations bring Gaia closer to deep-space Soyuz launch

SES-8 Arrives At Cape Canaveral For SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch

Spaceport Colorado and S3 Sign Memorandum of Understanding

ICE WORLD
Astronomer see misaligned planets in distant system

Water discovered in remnants of extrasolar rocky world orbiting white dwarf

Space 'graveyard' reveals bits of an Earth-like planet

Scientists generate first map of clouds on an exoplanet

ICE WORLD
Students creating satellite with self-healing material

Out-of-fuel European satellite to come crashing down

Satellite's gravity-mapping mission is over: ESA

Electrically powered in a geostationary orbit




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement