Conclusions

Processes of population differentiation had different consequences, according to the spatial and temporal scales at which they occurred. The differentiation between mountain massifs or between North and South Europe is a process due to the occurrence of long distance colonization or lack thereof. Some trends may be suggested: high arctic species tend to have a high colonization power, as their present range had to be efficiently colonized since the Würm glaciation, and also periodically during previous colonization cycles (Huntley and Webb 1989). For genetically spatially structured species, the focus should be on the most variable populations and on the ones which host many private alleles (Diadema et al. 2005). The knowledge of Evolutionary Significant Units (Crandall et al. 2000) taking into account both aspects, would be a valuable tool for conservation.

The postglacial colonization processes have favoured taxa with high vagility of propagules and a great competitive ability. In the latter respect, polyploids generally perform better than their diploid progenitors. However, the conservation of diploids is a key to the future evolution of the flora, their loss would be irreplaceable, as the families with the highest proportion of diploids are generally the ones with the most derived characters. Most of diploids have a better evolutionary potential than poly-ploids because minor modifications of their genome may alter the species more quickly and deeply. Lastly, harsh habitats, species rarity and endemism are key factors influencing the proportion of diploid in the native flora. Nowadays, disturbances caused by human activities have similar effects as glaciations, with the demise of many diploid stenotopic taxa, and the expansion of a few eurytopic polyploids, leading to an impoverishment and a banalization of the lowland flora.

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