Introgressive hybridization in Rorippa (Brassicaceae): gene flow and its consequences in natural and anthropogenic habitats

Authors

  • W. Bleeker,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Osnabrück, Department of Systematic Botany, Barbarastrasse 11, D-49076 Osnabrück, Germany
      W. Bleeker. Fax: + 49 5419693171; E-mail:bleeker@biologie.uni-osnabrueck.de
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. Hurka

    1. University of Osnabrück, Department of Systematic Botany, Barbarastrasse 11, D-49076 Osnabrück, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

W. Bleeker. Fax: + 49 5419693171; E-mail:bleeker@biologie.uni-osnabrueck.de

Abstract

Introgressive hybridization between three Rorippa species (R. amphibia, R. palustris and R. sylvestris) in northern Germany has been studied using isozymes and noncoding chloroplast DNA (trnL/F spacer). Our results provide substantial evidence for different patterns of gene flow in natural and in anthropogenic environments. Hybridization and bi-directional introgression (chloroplast DNA and allozymes) between R. amphibia and R. sylvestris were detected at the river Elbe, which is one of the last rivers in Central Europe showing a natural dynamic of erosion and sedimentation. The natural dynamic of the Elbe leads to periodic habitat disturbance and the temporal breakdown of ecological isolation barriers between R. amphibia and R. sylvestris. However, the high dynamic does not provide the opportunity for persistence of the morphologically intermediate hybrid R. × anceps (R. amphibia × R. sylvestris). We did not find hybrid zones between R. amphibia and R. sylvestris in the more anthropogenic landscape of northwest Germany. However, contact zones between R. amphibia and R. palustris were detected in drainage ditches in northwest Germany. We found substantial evidence for unidirectional introgression of R. palustris markers (chloroplast DNA and allozymes) into R. amphibia in the man-made habitats. The R. amphibia introgressants in the drainage ditches often showed strongly serrate upper cauline leaves instead of the entire upper cauline leaves typical for R. amphibia. We argue that landscape melioration in northwest Germany, particularly the creation of drainage ditches, favoured both hybrid-zone formation and ecotypic differentiation within R. amphibia.

Ancillary