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Long-distance seed dispersal, clone longevity and lack of phylogeographical structure in the European distributional range of the coastal Calystegia soldanella (L.) R. Br. (Convolvulaceae)


*Joachim Kadereit, Institut für Spezielle Botanik und Botanischer Garten, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.


Aim  To explore the relative effects of Quaternary climatic history vs. species-specific biological properties (high seed dispersability, high seed longevity, clonal growth) on phylogeographical structure in European Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean and Black Sea material of the coastal dune plant Calystegia soldanella (L.) R. Br.

Location  Black Sea and European Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean coasts.

Methods  Variation in amplified fragment length polymorphism was analysed at two different sampling levels. First, an entire-range sample from the Black Sea to the North Sea, including single individuals from sites evenly spread along this entire coast was analysed. Second, in a population-level sample, seven populations from the European Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean coasts were analysed.

Results  Neither the entire-range nor the population-level sampling resulted in clear phylogeographical patterns. Instead, individuals from geographically distant areas were often genetically more similar to each other than individuals from the same area. Non-significant isolation-by-distance was found for both sampling approaches, and comparatively low levels of intrapopulational genetic variation were observed.

Main conclusions  The lack of phylogeographical structure in C. soldanella, in comparison with the clear phylogeographical patterns observed in other coastal plant species analysed previously, is postulated to be the result of the specific biology of C. soldanella. The combination of high seed longevity, high dispersability of seeds by sea water and clonal growth and probable high clone age are likely to be responsible for the observed absence of phylogeographical structure. This implies that extreme biological properties such as those shown by C. soldanella can either erase or prevent the formation of historical patterns of genetic variation.