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Open Access item Comparative floral and vegetative differentiation between two European Aquilegia taxa along a narrow contact zone

Authors:Medrano, Mónica
Castellanos, María Clara
Herrera, Carlos M.
Keywords:Aquilegia pyrenaica subsp. cazorlensis, Aquilegia vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, floral character, Iberian Peninsula, inter- and intraspecific variation, morphological differentiation, Ranunculaceae, vegetative character
Issue Date:2006
Citation:Plant Systematics and Evolution. 262: 209–224 (2006)
Abstract:As a first step in determining the identity and relative importance of the evolutionary forces promoting the speciation process in two closely related European taxa of Aquilegia, we investigated the levels of morphological variation in floral and vegetative characters over the narrow region where their ranges enter into contact, and evaluate the relative importance of both types of traits in their differentiation. A total of 12 floral and ten vegeta- tive characters were measured on 375 plants belonging to seven A. vulgaris populations and six A. pyrenaica subsp. cazorlensis populations located in southeastern Spain. Floral and vegetative mor- phological differentiation occur between taxa and among populations within taxa, but only vegetative characters (particularly plant height and leaf pet- iolule length) contribute significantly to the dis- crimination between taxa. Differentiation among populations within taxa is mostly explained by variation in floral traits. Consequently, morpho- logical divergence between the two taxa cannot be interpreted as an extension of among-population differences occurring within taxa. Multivariate vegetative, but not floral, similarity between pop- ulations could be predicted from geographical distance. Moreover, the key role of certain vegeta- tive traits in the differentiation of A. vulgaris and A. p. cazorlensis could possibly be attributable to the contrasting habitat requirements and stress tolerance strategies of the two taxa. These pre- liminary findings seem to disagree with the currently established view of the radiation process in the genus Aquilegia in North America, where the differentiation of floral traits seems to have played a more important role.
Publisher version (URL):http://www.springerlink.com/content/158171l044u325j8/fulltext.pdf
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