The regional species richness and genetic diversity of Arctic vegetation reflect both past glaciations and current climate

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DOI

  • L. Stewart
  • ,
  • Inger G. Alsos
  • ,
  • Christian Bay
  • Amy L. Breen
  • ,
  • Christian Brochmann
  • ,
  • Noémie Boulanger-Lapointe, Canada
  • Olivier Broennimann
  • ,
  • Helga Bültmann
  • ,
  • Peder Klith Bøcher
  • Christian Damgaard
  • Fred J.A. Daniëls
  • ,
  • Dorothee Ehrich
  • ,
  • Pernille Bronken Eidesen
  • ,
  • Antoine Guisan
  • ,
  • Ingibjörg Svala Jónsdóttir
  • ,
  • Jonathan Lenoir
  • ,
  • Peter C. le Roux
  • ,
  • Esther Lévesque
  • ,
  • Miska Luoto
  • ,
  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
  • Peter Schönswetter
  • ,
  • Andreas Tribsch
  • ,
  • Liv Unn Tveraabak
  • ,
  • Risto Virtanen
  • ,
  • Donald A. Walker
  • ,
  • Kristine B. Westergaard
  • ,
  • Nigel G. Yoccoz
  • ,
  • Jens Christian Svenning
  • Mary Wisz
  • ,
  • Niels Martin Schmidt
  • Loïc Pellissier
Aim The Arctic has experienced marked climatic differences between glacial and interglacial periods and is now subject to a rapidly warming climate. Knowledge of the effects of historical processes on current patterns of diversity may aid predictions of the responses of vegetation to future climate change. We aim to test whether plant species and genetic diversity patterns are correlated with time since deglaciation at regional and local scales. We also investigate whether species richness is correlated with genetic diversity in vascular plants. Location Circumarctic. Methods We investigated species richness of the vascular plant flora of 21 floristic provinces and examined local species richness in 6215 vegetation plots distributed across the Arctic. We assessed levels of genetic diversity inferred from amplified fragment length polymorphism variation across populations of 23 common Arctic species. Correlations between diversity measures and landscape age (time since deglaciation) as well as variables characterizing current climate were analysed using spatially explicit simultaneous autoregressive models. Results Regional species richness of vascular plants and genetic diversity were correlated with each other, and both showed a positive relationship with landscape age. Plot species richness showed differing responses for vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens. At this finer scale, the richness of vascular plants was not significantly related to landscape age, which had a small effect size compared to the models of bryophyte and lichen richness. Main conclusion Our study suggests that imprints of past glaciations in Arctic vegetation diversity patterns at the regional scale are still detectable today. Since Arctic vegetation is still limited by post-glacial migration lag, it will most probably also exhibit lags in response to current and future climate change. Our results also suggest that local species richness at the plot scale is more determined by local habitat factors
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume25
Issue4
Pages (from-to)430-442
Number of pages13
ISSN1466-822X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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