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Independent evolutionary history between the Balkan ranges and more northerly mountains in Campanula alpina s.l. (Campanulaceae): Genetic divergence and morphological segregation of taxa

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Although the Balkan Peninsula belongs to the main European biodiversity centres, phylogeographical structure of its high-mountain flora and relationships with adjoining mountain systems remain almost unknown. Here, we analyse the evolutionary patterns in Campanula alpina s.l., which comprises C. alpina Jacq. (eastern Alps, Carpathians) and the mostly neglected, allopatric Balkan taxon C. orbelica Pančić. Using a range-wide sampling, two molecular marker systems (mostly nuclear AFLPs and chloroplast DNA sequences), flow cytometry and morphometric assessment, we (1) test earlier hypotheses assuming the impact of the Balkan lineages on the history of populations in the Alps and the Carpathians; (2) elucidate the long-lasting controversy concerning the taxonomic status of the populations in the Balkan Peninsula. The primary evolutionary break, evidenced by a substantial genetic differentiation, separated the Alpine/Carpathian and Balkan populations. Thus, the previously hypothesized influence of the Balkan gene pool on the present more northerly lineages (especially on a distinct phylogeographical group occurring in the southwestern Carpathians) was rejected. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of cpDNA may support the Carpathians as the ancestral area within C. alpina from which the species reached the Alps, although strongly divergent AFLPs point at a relatively ancient time of this colonization. Molecular data and clear morphological segregation supported C. orbelica as a Balkan endemic species evolutionarily divergent from C. alpina. Both taxa are lectotypified, illustrated and morphologically characterized; their diagnostic characters are outlined.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland;, Email: [email protected] 2: Institute of Botany, Jagiellonian University, Kopernika 27, 31-501 Kraków, Poland

Publication date: 20 February 2014

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