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Phylogeography of the endangered Eryngium alpinum L. (Apiaceae) in the European Alps


  • Y. NACIRI,

    1. Laboratoire de Systématique et de Biodiversité, Unité de Phylogénie et Génétique Moléculaires, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques, 1 Chemin de l’Impératrice, CP 60, CH-1292 Chambésy, Geneva, Switzerland,
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    1. Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553, Université Joseph Fournier, BP 53, F-38041 Grenoble cedex 9, France
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    • Present address: Origine, Structure et Evolution de la Biodiversité, UMR CNRS 5202, Département Systématique et Evolution, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 16 rue Buffon, F-75005 Paris, France.

Y. Naciri, Fax: +41 22 418 5101; E-mail:


We studied the phylogeography of Eryngium alpinum by sequencing two intergenic chloroplast spacers, trnH-psbA and trnS-trnG (1322 bp). The sampling design included 36 populations and 397 individuals spanning the entire distribution range of the species, from France to Bosnia. Twenty-one haplotypes were characterized and polymorphism was observed both within and among populations. Population differentiation was strong (FST = 0.92) and largely explained by the distinction of five geographic regions: Southwestern, Western, Middle, Eastern Alps and Balkans (FCT = 0.62). Moreover, NST was significantly higher than GST (P < 0.05), showing the existence of a phylogeographic pattern. Six major lineages were recognized using samova and median-joining networks. One lineage, highly divergent from the other ones, was only found in the Balkans and probably persisted in situ during last glaciations. All other lineages might have survived in a Southwestern refugium (Mercantour) and colonized the entire Alpine arc (Southwestern, Western, Middle and Eastern Alps) through repeated colonization events at different time periods. This is the first empirical study suggesting Southern refugia for calcareous Alpine plants, although the existence of a secondary refugium in northern Italy/Austria is also suspected. We also observed recent haplotype diversification, especially in the Southwestern Alps.

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