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FRIBIO-Biologi og biomedisin

Did vascular plants and bryophytes survive the last ice age in Scandinavia?

Tildelt: kr 5,0 mill.





2006 - 2010

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Glacial survival versus postglacial immigration of the Scandinavian alpine flora has been debated for more than 100 years, and has recently received increased attention with the development of molecular tools. Many vascular plant species occur disjunctly on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean, but are lacking from areas east- and westwards. A subset also absent from the Alps, the so-called ?West-arctic? species, has been considered to provide the strongest evidence for local survival in Scandinavia thr oughout the entire Quaternary, or at least through the last glaciation. Bryophytes have never attained weight in this discussion, even though many of them are exceptionally hardy and therefore more likely as nunatak survivors. In this project, we will car ry out a comparative phylogeographic analysis of about 10 species of amphi-Atlantic vascular plants and bryophytes. We will use and develop various molecular markers (AFLPs, cpDNA SNPs, and low-copy nuclear genes), phylogenetic analyses, genotype assignme nt tests, and coalescent-based simulations to test whether the Scandinavian populations originate from recent (post-glacial) cross-oceanic dispersal from the west, and/or whether they descend from long-term glacial in-situ survivors. Our international res earch team combines taxonomic, molecular, and phylo- and phytogeographic expertise on vascular plants and bryophytes, and will provide an excellent training environment for one Postdoc (in Oslo), one PhD student (in Tromsø), and several Master students.

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FRIBIO-Biologi og biomedisin