The European larch (Larix decidua) was broadly distributed in Central European lowlands during the last glacial period. It is generally assumed that the distribution range of larch shrunk in the Holocene, and that nowadays, the only native populations are in the Alps, Carpathians and eastern Sudetes. Contrary to this, there is a growing paleoecological and historical evidence of larch occurrence in lowlands during the Holocene and long before forest plantations. This evidence was, however, never complemented with population genetic structure of lowland populations. The aim of this multidisciplinary project is exploring population genetic structure, current and past ecology of larch populations, with special emphasis on identifying lowland Holocene refugia, i.e. regions where larch has persisted continuously. First, the integration of historical, archaeobotanical, paleoecological and climatic niche modeling approaches will help to distinguish potential refugia from obvious plantations. Second, selected populations will be screened using microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial/chloroplast sequencing (using NGS approach) and results interpreted together with already available data from the entire European distribution. The potential confirmation of native status using firm multiproxy evidence would be extremely important for the ongoing debate about cultivation of larch in production forests in Central European lowlands.

Five relevant publications of the research group:

Daneck H, Fér T & Marhold K (2016): Glacial survival in northern refugia? Phylogeography of the temperate shrub Rosa pendulina (Rosaceae): AFLP vs. cpDNA variation. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 119, 704-718

Daneck H, Abraham V, Fér T & Marhold K (2011): Phylogeography of Lonicera nigra in Central Europe inferred from molecular and pollen evidence. Preslia, 83, 243-263

Svoboda J, Pokorný P, Horáček I et al. (2017): Late Glacial and Holocene sequences in rockshelters and adjacent wetlands of Northern Bohemia, Czech Republic: Correlation of environmental and archaeological records. Quaternary International, 465, 234-250

Houfková P, Bešta T, Bernardová A, Vondrák D, Pokorný P & Novak J (2016): Holocene climatic events linked to environmental changes at Lake Komořany Basin, Czech Republic. The Holocene, 27, 1132-1145.

Smyčka J, Roquet C, Renaud J, Thuiller W, Zimmermann N, Lavergne S (2017) Disentangling drivers of plant endemism and diversification in the European Alps - a phylogenetic and spatially explicit approach. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 28, 19-27

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