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Phylogenetic relationships in pastures and meadows from the north Adriatic karst

Grant number: 12/12909-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): November 06, 2012
Effective date (End): November 19, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Marco Antônio Portugal Luttembarck Batalha
Grantee:Marco Antônio Portugal Luttembarck Batalha
Host: Sonja Kornik
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Maribor (UM), Slovenia  

Abstract

Probably due to its phytogeographic position, the grasslands in the North Adriatic Karst are among the richest grasslands in the world and harbor the highest small-scale density of plant species found in terrestrial habitats. Different moisture and soil conditions determine distinct vegetation types, such as semi-natural pastures, composed by sclerophyllous plants and on oligotrophic conditions, and meadows, composed by mesophyllous plants and on mesic conditions. Even if a floristic and an incipient functional analyses are available, the phylogenetic relationships remain to be tested. If environmental filters are the main ecological force, as we expect for the Carst region, and the traits are phylogenetically conserved, then we should find phylogenetic clustering; if the traits are phylogenetically convergent, then we should find phylogenetic dispersion. This project involves the analysis of previously collected data, but which lack functional and phylogenetic analyses. We will use a dataset, in which 52 plots in the pastures and 48 plots in the meadows were sampled, comprising 180 species. We expect, by the end of the project, to predict which species should be prioritized to maximize conserved evolutionary history; what is the proportion of evolutionary history that would be lost if all species present in one of the two vegetation types become locally extinct; if the functional diversity in the pastures is lower than in the meadows; if there is positive phylogenetic signal in the functional traits; and how distribute is trait diversity in the phylogenetic tree. (AU)