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Genetic diversity in the moss Pohlia nutans on geothermal ground of Mount Rittmann, Victoria Land, Antarctica

Abstract.

The only known population of the moss Pohlia nutans in continental Antarctica occurs on geothermally heated ground of volcanic Mt. Rittmann in northern Victoria Land. Colonisation by this bryophyte is due to peculiar environmental characteristics of the geothermal ground, because mosses do not normally grow in Antarctica at such elevations. Specimens from several moss patches within two sites of 80 m2 total area were analysed genetically to determine whether they all originated from a single colonisation event, whether the population is genetically diverse, and whether the temperature range of geothermal ground (17–35°C under moss colonies) affects rates of mutation. Both the RAPD technique and DNA sequencing of the conserved nuclear ribosomal RNA 18S-26S ITS region were used to compare this extremely isolated population with specimens of P. nutans from elsewhere in Antarctica. Like the moss Campylopus pyriformis on volcanic Mt. Melbourne, the Pohlia population exhibits low levels of genetic diversity and appears to be derived from a single immigration event followed by vegetative growth, mutation and dispersal.

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Skotnicki, .M., Bargagli, .R. & Ninham, .J. Genetic diversity in the moss Pohlia nutans on geothermal ground of Mount Rittmann, Victoria Land, Antarctica. Polar Biol 25, 771–777 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-002-0418-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-002-0418-3

Keywords

  • Genetic Diversity
  • Vegetative Growth
  • Environmental Characteristic
  • Colonisation Event
  • Immigration Event