Phylogeography and taxonomic reassessment of Arabidopsis halleri – a montane species from Central Europe

  • Gabriela Šrámková
  • Filip Kolář
  • Eliška Záveská
  • Magdalena Lučanová
  • Stanislav Španiel
  • Martin Kolník
  • Karol MarholdEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biogeography of the Carpathians


Evolutionary histories of plants from the mid-elevation (montane) zone of European mountain ranges have only rarely been documented, standing in contrast to those of well-researched inhabitants of (sub-)alpine and foothill zones. To fill this gap, we have reconstructed the phylogeography of Arabidopsis halleri, a species preferring coniferous woodlands and corresponding secondary habitats in the montane zone of the Alps, Carpathians, Hercynian massif and Dinaric Alps. Based on range-wide sampling and finer-scale analyses of multiple multilocus DNA markers, we have addressed phylogeographic patterns among the Carpathian populations and inferred their relationships to A. halleri from neighbouring mountain ranges. We also present a taxonomic re-evaluation of the species in Europe, based on the revealed genetic structure complemented by morphological data. Besides two distinct Alpine groups, we identified a major phylogeographic split between the Western and South-Eastern Carpathians. Interestingly, Western and South-Eastern Carpathian populations were genetically closer to populations from neighbouring mountain ranges (the Hercynian massif and the Dinaric Alps for the Western and South-Eastern Carpathians, respectively) than they were to each other, likely reflecting long-term isolation in different parts of the Carpathians or different (re)colonization pathways during the Holocene. In spite of the considerable environmentally correlated variation, the five major European genetic groups exhibited distinctive morphological characters, and we therefore propose treating them as separate subspecies: A. halleri subsp. halleri (Western Europe, Hercynian massif), A. halleri subsp. tatrica (Western Carpathians), A. halleri subsp. ovirensis (Eastern Alps), A. halleri subsp. occidentalis (Western Alps) and A. halleri subsp. dacica (Eastern and Southern Carpathians and Dinaric Alps).


Arabidopsis AFLPs Microsatellites Multivariate morphometrics Taxonomy 



We are grateful to all colleagues that helped us with the field sampling (see the Appendix) or provided locality data. The research was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (Grant No. 16-10809S) and by the Grant Agency VEGA, Bratislava, Slovakia (Grant No. 2/0137/17). The STRUCTURE computations were performed using resources provided by the Slovak Infrastructure for High Performance Computing (SIVVP,

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019
corrected publication November 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzechia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.Institute of Botany, The Czech Academy of SciencesPrůhoniceCzechia
  4. 4.Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Institute of BotanySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  5. 5.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzechia

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