Investigation of the Responses of Anatolian High Mountain Plants to the Quaternary Climate Changes Using Genomic Methods and Niche Modelling Approach.

Sağlam İ. K., Özgişi K., Gür H., Özüdoğru B. (Executive)

TUBITAK Project, 2021 - 2024

  • Project Type: TUBITAK Project
  • Begin Date: April 2021
  • End Date: April 2024

Project Abstract

This project aims to reveal the effect of Quaternary climatic fluctuations on floral elements found in the alpine zone of

high mountains. For this purpose, Heldreichia bupleurifolia (including all six infraspecific taxa), Noccaea oppositifolia and

Phyllolepidium cyclocarpum subsp. cyclocarpum whose distributions largely match the Anatolian Diagonal and the Taurus

Mountains, which are important biogeographical corridors and barriers in Anatolia, have been selected. Using these model

taxa, local historical dynamics within Anatolia will be tested with both high-resolution next-generation RADseq data, and

Ecological Niche Modelling. The main hypothesis of this study is that the expansion-contraction model during glacier and

interglacial periods supported by numerous studies in Europe and North America is not suitable for complex geographies

such as Anatolia. Despite its floristic richness, the number of studies testing historical processes that are responsible for

1001BF-01 Güncelleme Tarihi: 07/04/2020

1Anatolia’s taxonomic richness is quite limited. We plan to reveal floristic dynamics of Anatilia during the Quaternary by

determining genomic diversity of taxa, gene flow between populations, possible hybridizations, adaptive responses to

environmental variables, historical demographics, and current - historical dispersal routes used by these populations. To

the best of our knowledge, no such comprehensive study which brings together phylogenetic, phylogeographic and

population genomic analyses from 8 taxa, 60-70 populations and 700 individuals and integrates molecular data with

ecological niche modelling at this level has been attempted. For this reason, this part represents the most original aspect of

the proposed project. We aim to build an alternative historical model for Anatolia which will be able to explain the response

of these taxa to climatic change. In addition, historical (climate change, dispersal, local extinctions) or non-climatic (soil,

bedrock, vegetation cover, etc.) factors responsible for current distribution patterns of these taxa will be revealed. As a

result, by understanding the effects of climate change on Anatolian plants and determining genomic hot-spots (refugia), the

project will enable us to develop an action plan for Anatolian high mountain plants under climatic change. Furthermore, the

model organism Arabidopsis thaliana will be used as the reference genome in this study, so it will be possible to identify

candidate genes responsible for adaptive responses of plants to environmental factors such as altitude, temperature,

precipitation. Identification of these genes will be the basis of further studies concentrating on gene expression or breeding

practices (for members of commercial mustard (brassicaceae)). Finally, data presented in this study will have the potential

to be used by researchers working in many fields such as population genetics, biogeography, plant breeding, and climate