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Sci Rep. 2016 May 23;6:26613. doi: 10.1038/srep26613.

Population dynamics of Agriophyllum squarrosum, a pioneer annual plant endemic to mobile sand dunes, in response to global climate change.

Qian C1,2, Yin H1,2, Shi Y1,2, Zhao J1,2, Yin C1,2, Luo W3, Dong Z3, Chen G1, Yan X1,4, Wang XR5, Ma XF1.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Stress Physiology and Ecology in Cold and Arid Regions, Gansu Province, Department of Ecology and Agriculture Research, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China.
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China.
4
Key Laboratory of Eco-hydrology and of Inland River Basin, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, China.
5
Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå 90187, Sweden.

Abstract

Climate change plays an important role in the transition of ecosystems. Stratigraphic investigations have suggested that the Asian interior experienced frequent transitions between grassland and desert ecosystems as a consequence of global climate change. Using maternally and bi-parentally inherited markers, we investigated the population dynamics of Agriophyllum squarrosum (Chenopodiaceae), an annual pioneer plant endemic to mobile sand dunes. Phylogeographic analysis revealed that A. squarrosum could originate from Gurbantunggut desert since ~1.6 Ma, and subsequently underwent three waves of colonisation into other deserts and sandy lands corresponding to several glaciations. The rapid population expansion and distribution range shifts of A. squarrosum from monsoonal climate zones suggested that the development of the monsoonal climate significantly enhanced the population growth and gene flow of A. squarrosum. These data also suggested that desertification of the fragile grassland ecosystems in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau was more ancient than previously suggested and will be aggravated under global warming in the future. This study provides new molecular phylogeographic insights into how pioneer annual plant species in desert ecosystems respond to global climate change, and facilitates evaluation of the ecological potential and genetic resources of future crops for non-arable dry lands to mitigate climate change.

PMID:
27210568
PMCID:
PMC4876407
DOI:
10.1038/srep26613
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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