Genetic differentiation and local adaptation among seed origins used for grassland restoration

People

Anna Lampei Bucharova, Oliver Bossdorf

Funding

Project in preparation

Duration

Pilot study have been carried out in 2013, larger project in preparation

In a nutshell

One of the key questions in ecosystem restoration is the choice of seed materials for restoring plant communities. In this project, we test for genetic differentiation and local adaptation among species commonly used in grassland restoration.

 

Project description

One of the key questions in ecosystem restoration is the choice of seed materials for restoring plant communities. More and more scientists and practitioners are currently advocating the use of regional seed sources, based on the argument that plants are often adapted to local or regional environmental conditions, so that regional seed sources should provide the best restoration success. However, there is still substantial debate on this approach, partly because we do not have enough sound empirical tests of it.

In this cooperation project, we focus on multiple aspects of seed sourcing strategies, especially on regional adaptation. In a pilot study, we investigated seven grassland species commonly used in restoration originating from eight seed zones across Germany. First, we evaluated their genetic differentiation (in cooperation with lab of Walter Durka). Second, we conducted a multi-species reciprocal transplant experiment in which we compared their performance in four experimental sites across Germany (in cooperation with labs ofNorbert Hölze, Johannes Kollmann and Walter Durka). Third, in one of the study species, we evaluated effect of plant origin identity on their herbivores and their parasitoids (together with Mark Frenzel and Karsten Mody).

Results of the pilot study have shown that there are substantial differences in genotypes and phenotypes of plants originating from different regions and that those differences impact biotic interactions over two trophic levels. However, strength of the differentiation is species dependent. Currently, we are preparing a large cooperative project focusing on high number of plant species, plant communities and biotic interactions.

Publications

Bucharová A, Durka W, Hermann JM, Hölzel N, Michalski S, Kollmann J, Bossdorf O (2016) Plants adapted to warmer climate do not outperform regional plants during a natural heat wave. Ecology & Evolution, in press

Bucharova A, Michalski SG, Hermann JM, Heveling K, Durka W, Hölzel N, Kollmann J, Bossdorf O (2016) Genetic differentiation and regional adaptation among seed origins used for grassland restoration: lessons from a multi-species transplant experiment. Journal of Applied Ecology, in press.

Durka W, Michalski SG, Berendzen KW, Bossdorf O, Bucharova A, Hermann JM, Hölzel N, Kollmann J (2016) Genetic differentiation within multiple common grassland plants supports seed transfer zones for ecological restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology, in press.