Climate change and plant migrations – a window to the past
During the glacial and interglacial periods of the past 2.5 million years of Earth’s history (the Quaternary), distribution ranges of plants have been highly dynamic so they could accommodate their ecological requirements in the face of recurring climate change. These past range dynamics have led to encounters of species that are now geographically isolated or to geographic separation of species that now share a common distribution area. When different plant species were geographically close to each other in the past, they could sometimes form hybrids, offspring derived from crossing between these parent species. With the help of DNA sequencing, it is possible to identify such hybrid plants and their parental species. This poster is based on research published in 2016 by Johannes T. Klein and Joachim W. Kadereit (Alpine Botany 126, 119–133) and demonstrates what the identification of hybrid and parent species in Sempervivum, the central object of this exhibition, and their current geographical ranges can tell us about range dynamics in the past.
Dr Thibaud Messerschmid,
Scientific curator at the Munich-Nymphenburg Botanical Garden