The European fauna has traditionally been subdivided into a "holothermic" refugial and a "holopsychric" invasion type. The former type was differentiated according to the secondary subdivision of the Mediterranean refugial area. This view was confirmed and modulated by molecular results. A general conclusion was that temperate species mainly derive from Mediterranean refugial populations that underwent range expansion in the late glacial and early post-glacial periods. The other main group has been considered for a long time as a result of the "Siberian" invasion despite the evidences, which have revealed the taxonomical differentiation of North-Eastern "boreal" and Southern European montane populations. Several authors have suggested an additional mode of colonisation of Central and Northern Europe by non-Mediterranean populations, coming from one or more "continental" refugia. Fossil pollen data and macrofossil remains from the time of the Last Glacial Maximum indicate that several tree species remained in small favourable spots at the Southern edge of the steppe-tundra area. Research on small mammals has also questioned the universality of Mediterranean refugia. It was suggested that the Mediterranean "sanctuaria" in general were not also core areas of post-glacial expansion into deglaciated areas.
The Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles have resulted in the "antagonistic dynamics" of biota pertaining to contrasting macrohabitats. Principally, two basic types of zonal setting can be distinguished. The glacial periods have been characterised by a regressive fragmentation of wooded habitats and, consequently, by a broad contact of the tundra and the steppe zonobiomes with some forested "pockets" North of the refugial belt of the Mediterranean area. Transitional zono-ecotones developed at the forest-belt fringes: tundra-taiga and boreal forest-steppe. Pollen-based
"tree-less tundra" models for Europe, North of the transverse mountain ranges, have repeatedly been questioned by researchers of the late Pleistocene mammalian fauna because the carrying capacity sufficient to feed numerous large herbivores demands a very productive environment ("mammoth steppe"). Thus, non-analogue communities were composed by mixing tundral, steppic and eremic-oreal elements. This boreal forest-steppe habitat type appears to have included also cold-tolerant species of temperate habitats.
The species of the boreal zone show a significant diversity of extension and of taxonomical structure of ranges. Comparison of phylogeographic structures in several Eurasiatic boreal species has shown that species associated with the taiga forest revealed essentially similar patterns. The number of exclusively European boreal and boreo-montane species is relatively low. However, a molecular biogeographical analysis of such species can unravel the European coniferous forest refugia. The existence of European coniferous forest refugia is also supported by the East-West subdivision of several boreal species. Temperate refugia in Europe during cold periods might not have been restricted to the three Southern peninsulas. These refugia were most likely to be located near the Alps or in the Carpathians and, possibly, at the network of streams in the marginal areas of the Carpathian Basin.
The level of endemism generally correlates with the geological age of the refugia where relict-like taxa have been evolved and/or could survive. The Carpathian Basin belongs to the geologically youngest areas of Europe. Its relief developed under the influence of the Alpine orogenesis and by retreat of the Paratethys and the Pannonian inland sea. There are, however, some taxonomical groups which show considerable proportion of endemic species (land gastropods, earthworms or some soil arthropods). Most endemic species are narrow specialists inhabiting extreme habitats, e.g. thermal springs, karstic caves and karstic springs. A bulk of these endemic taxa is confined to the Eastern and Southern Carpathians, to the Apuseni Mts. and to the mountains of Banat, which could preserve relict species or some narrow endemics in refugia without permafrost phenomena during the last glaciations. Since the Carpathian Basin occupied a transitional position between the Balkanic refugia and the cold-continental tundro-steppe zone during the glacial periods, the post-glacial re-population of the Carpathian Basin was preceeded (1) by long-distance dispersal from the more remote (atlanto- and ponto-) Mediterranean and Southern continental refugia, and (2) also from some adjacent local survival areas, e.g. from North-Western Balkanic ("Illyrian") versus South Transylvanian ("Dacian") arboreal refugia. In such cases, the arrows of the Northwards dispersal of the South-Western and South-Eastern populations surround the arid central part of the basin.
In the Carpathian Basin, the concentric arrangement of vegetation belts is influenced by numerous climatic, orographic, hydrographic and edaphic factors. The geographically transitional position of the Carpathian Basin resulted in a conspicuous mixture of faunal elements of diverse origins and geographical histories. The compartment structure of the vegetation complexes, typical of the Pannonian forest-steppe, has promoted the survival of very different faunal elements. Thus, many thermophilic elements probably populated the Carpathian Basin not only by long-distance colonisation from remote, large glacial refuges, but also from numerous meso- or microclimatically favourable sites lying at the fluctuating borderlines of the Mediterranean refugial and periglacial belts. Eremic species are restricted to semi-desert-like habitats of the lowland with extreme edaphic conditions. Abundant examples can be found in strictly localised phytophagous insects, which are often connected with special halophytic plant communities. They are often represented by endemic Pannonian subspecies or allopatric sibling species of Turanian origin. The dispersal of this species group could have taken place in the late glacial phases on the Pannonian lowland with a subsequent isolation as a result of the post-glacial expansion of the forested belts. Two main groups of xeromontane elements are present in the Carpathian Basin. A larger number of species of the Mediterranean-xeromontane species belongs to some insect groups, e.g. Noctuidae and Orthoptera. The continental-xeromontane type is represented by some members of widely distributed Asiatic mountain steppe species and by some relict-like inhabitants of the rocky dolomit grasslands. It seems to be very probable that numerous genera, typical of the steppe biome, might have a xeromontane origin.
Acknowledgements I am deeply indebted to the precursors of modern phylogeographic thoughts: to the late Gustaf de Lattin and Willy Reinig who inseminated the biogeography by genetic insights and shaped my ideas. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation repeatedly supported my research fellowships in Germany. The survey of the faunal history of Hungary was partly supported by the grant NKFP-3 B/023/2004.
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