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Title: Historical biogeography and population genetics of the plant Arabidopsis petraea
Author: Ansell, S.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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Arabidopsis petraea is rock dwelling herb and a member of the Brassicaceae family. It has recently emerged as a new model organism for studying plant ecology, evolution and adaptation because it is diploid, outcrossing, has a wide geographic range, is ecological flexible and closely related to the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Arabidopsis petraea is also a biogeographic enigma because its entire disjunct distribution range (Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden and Wales) covers the parts of Europe that were effected by the last glaciation and there are very few fossil records. The aim of this thesis was to establish the historical biogeography of Arabidopsis petraea by gathering genetic information that could be used to test three models of glacial survival. 1882 plants from 61 populations in Austria, Germany, Iceland, Scotland, Sweden and Wales were collected and screened for genetic variation using allozyme and chloroplast markers. The allozyme markers revealed that this species was highly variable and that regions were essentially equally diverse and geographic differentiation was weak.  This indicated that variation has travel with this species during postglacial repopulation and that the process of colonisation probably involved large population sizes. The chloroplast marker showed there were two very common haplotypes detected in the majority of populations and regions, suggesting that the disjunct regions share a common recent origin. Together with the ecological, geological and distribution data it was possible to conclude that A. petraea probably survived the last glacial in a central Europe refugia and that northern Europe was recolonised by large populations migrating at the edge of the retreating glaciers. The current disjunct distribution pattern of A. petraea was formed through a combination of its special ecological requirement and the arrival of a more competitive temperate flora across much of Europe.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available