Genetic diversity in widespread species is not congruent with species richness in alpine plant communities

Licia Colli, Riccardo Negrini, Paolo Ajmone Marsan, Pierre Taberlet, Niklaus E. Zimmermann, Thorsten Englisch, Andreas Tribsch, Rolf Holderegger, Nadir Alvarez, Harald Niklfeld, Gheorghe Coldea, Zbigniew Mirek, Atte Moilanen, Wolfgang Ahlmer, Enzo Bona, Maurizio Bovio, Philippe Choler, Elzbieta Cieślak, Vasile Cristea, Jean-Pierre DalmasBožo Frajman, Luc Garraud, Myriam Gaudeul, Ludovic Gielly, Walter Gutermann, Nejc Jogan, Alexander A. Kagalo, Grazyna Korbecka, Philippe Küpfer, Benoît Lequette, Dominik Roman Letz, Stéphanie Manel, Guilhem Mansion, Karol Marhold, Fabrizio Martini, Fernando Niño, Ovidiu Paun, Giovanni Perico, Halina Piekoś-Mirkowa, Filippo Prosser, Mihai Puşcaş, Michal Ronikier, Martin Scheuerer, Gerald M. Schneeweiss, Peter Schönswetter, Luise Schratt-Ehrendorfer, Fanny Schüpfer, Alberto Selvaggi, Katharina Steinmann, Conny Thiel-Egenter, Marcela Van Loo, Manuela Winkler, Thomas Wohlgemuth, Tone Wraber, Felix Gugerli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims at the conservation of all three levels of biodiversity, that is, ecosystems, species and genes. Genetic diversity represents evolutionary potential and is important for ecosystem functioning. Unfortunately, genetic diversity in natural populations is hardly considered in conservation strategies because it is difficult to measure and has been hypothesised to co-vary with species richness. This means that species richness is taken as a surrogate of genetic diversity in conservation planning, though their relationship has not been properly evaluated. We tested whether the genetic and species levels of biodiversity co-vary, using a large-scale and multi-species approach. We chose the high-mountain flora of the Alps and the Carpathians as study systems and demonstrate that species richness and genetic diversity are not correlated. Species richness thus cannot act as a surrogate for genetic diversity. Our results have important consequences for implementing the CBD when designing conservation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1448
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • alpine plant communities
  • genetic diversity

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic diversity in widespread species is not congruent with species richness in alpine plant communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this