, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 205-217
Date: 11 Mar 2011

Ecogeographical land characterization maps as a tool for assessing plant adaptation and their implications in agrobiodiversity studies

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Abstract

Information on plant adaptation can be very useful in agrobiodiversity studies. Ecogeographical land characterization (ELC) maps constitute a new tool in this direction with great potential. To assess the usefulness of this approach, an ELC map of Spain was created through multivariate methods. Its performance to characterize plant habitat preferences was compared with existing ecological regions and land cover maps. Collecting sites and seed weight from eight plant species were used to test the ELC map. Categories from each map were assigned to accessions using collecting sites. Chi-square tests were applied to test if category frequency distributions for each species followed a distribution proportional to the relative frequency of categories in each map. The tests found significant differences in the eight species studied. Thus, Bonferroni confidence intervals (BCI) classified categories from maps in preferred, neutral or avoided habitats. Seed weight was used as a proxy for plant adaptation. Comparison between observed and expected ranking of BCI and quartile classes in terms of seed weight means, and GLM and post-hoc tests carried out to test the effect of these classes upon seed weight showed consistently better results for the ELC map. Species results and applications of ecogeographic maps in plant genetic resources conservation are discussed.