Evolution of Veronica (Plantaginaceae) on the Balkan Peninsula

PHYTOLOGIA BALCANICA 01/2006; 12:231-244.

ABSTRACT With more than 6500 species of native seed plants on the Balkans and almost a third of them endemic, the Balkan Peninsula is known to be a place for diversification and formation of new species and an important refugium during the Ice Ages. One plant group, which exemplifies this well, is the genus Veronica (Plantaginaceae, formerly Scrophulariaceae). Four groups from this genus (V. subg. Stenocarpon; V. subg. Chamaedrys; V. subg. Pseudolysimachium, V. alpina-complex) display putative tertiary relict species, speciation within Pleistocene refugia and Pleistocene or Holocene speciation by hybridization and polyploidization on the Balkan Peninsula. I here review earlier published results for these groups and present new data. DNA sequence analyses from the nuclear ribosomal DNA (ITS) and plastid genome (trnLF region) were examined so as to shed more light on the relationship of the species from the Balkans. In addition, AFLP fingerprints were used to study V. subg. Pseudolysimachium, which exhibits limited DNA sequence divergence. Results support the distinctiveness of taxa from the Balkans as a divergent group of plants on the intra-and interspecific level. Limited resolution and support of the results further demonstrate the need for another marker system to continue the study of evolution of these plants of the Balkan Peninsula.

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    ABSTRACT: The Balkan Peninsula is considered the most important refugium for species during the Pleistocene glaciations and today harbours c. 2000 endemic species, but we know surprisingly little about the evolution of taxa in this region. Veronica saturejoides, V. thessalica and V. erinoides are a group of closely related alpine taxa endemic to the Balkan Peninsula. Here, we analyse four DNA regions [the nuclear chalcone synthase intron (CHSi) and ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and the plastid rpoB-trnC spacer and trnL-trnL-trnF region] and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprints to provide a phylogenetic hypothesis for the relationships among these taxa. Additionally, we analyse leaf morphological characters used to distinguish the three subspecies of V. saturejoides. The analyses support the distinction of the three subspecies based on previously intuitively suggested characters. Nuclear chalcone synthase intron data indicate that the southern taxa are genetically much more diverse than the more northern V. saturejoides subsp. saturejoides. Phylogenetic relationships inferred from this region and AFLP fingerprints support the monophyly of V. saturejoides. In contrast, plastid DNA regions suggest a closer relationship of V. saturejoides subsp. saturejoides to V. thessalica. The most likely scenario involves introgression into V. saturejoides subsp. saturejoides from V. thessalica. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 159, 616–636.
    Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 04/2009; 159(4):616 - 636. DOI:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00958.x · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Southeastern Europe is a centre of European biodiversity, but very little is known about factors causing the observed richness. Here, we contribute to fill this gap by reconstructing the spatio-temporal diversification of the cytologically variable and taxonomically intricate complex of Veronica chamaedrys (Plantaginaceae s.l.), growing in open forests, forest edges and grasslands, with flow cytometry, molecular markers (AFLPs, plastid DNA sequences) and morphometry. Our results show that both diploid and tetraploid cytotypes are widespread, but diploids predominate on the southern Balkan Peninsula. Plastid sequences suggest a first split into three main lineages in the mid-Pleistocene and a continuous diversification during the last 0.4 my. Two of the identified plastid lineages coincide with geographically distinct AFLP clusters. Altogether, the genetic data suggest forest refugia on the southern-most Balkan Peninsula (Greece), in Bulgaria, Istria (Croatia and Slovenia) and maybe the southeastern Carpathians (Romania). Morphometric and genetic data show little congruence with current taxonomy.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 11/2010; 57(2):771-86. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.06.025 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A geophysical survey was performed at selected locations of Mt. Oiti and Mt. Kallidromon characterized by the hosting of priority habits of Mediterranean temporary ponds and the threatened plant species of Veronica oetaea, in order to understand the geoenvironment and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Primarily, the formation of these seasonal ponds, where Veronica oetaea occurs, seems to depend exclusively on the local hydrogeological regime. Thus, we investigated the subsurface structure of "Livadies" and "Nevropolis" ponds with the application of Electrical Resistivity Tomography for high accuracy information and Vertical Electrical Sounding for deeper data acquisition. Four ERT sections and 15 geoelectrical soundings in total were carried out. The combined results of their processing revealed differences at the geological structure beneath the ponds locations. At "Livadies" pond (Mt. Oiti), two geoelectrical layers were distinguished both corresponding to a folded flysch succession, contributing to the formation of this pond. On the contrary, at "Nevropolis" pond two geoelectrical layers were identified and interpreted as a surficial soil deposit stratum covering the geomorphological karst structure of a polje, created on the underlying limestones. The combined geophysical research offered significant data for the formation and the hydrogeological status of the priority habitats.
    Near Surface Geoscience 2014-20th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, Athens; 09/2014

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