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Plant Evolution in the Mediterranean$
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John D. Thompson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198515340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515340.001.0001

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Trait variation, adaptation, and dispersal in the Mediterranean mosaic

Trait variation, adaptation, and dispersal in the Mediterranean mosaic

(p.109) Chapter 4 Trait variation, adaptation, and dispersal in the Mediterranean mosaic
Plant Evolution in the Mediterranean

John D. Thompson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the ecology of trait variation, adaptation, dispersal, and colonization in the Mediterranean mosaic landscape. Variation in functional traits and phenology is examined in relation to the classical themes of aridity and nutrient stress in Mediterranean ecosystems. The association of trait combinations in many species no doubt evolved in the region prior to the onset of a Mediterranean climate regime, as the presence of a large group of Pre-Pliocene sclerophyllous, unisexual, fleshy-fruited species illustrates. The analysis of variation and evolution in relation to climate is explored in a discussion of trait variation among populations and closely related taxa. The chapter describes the constraints and selection pressures acting on plant populations during the colonization of open habitats following the abandonment of human activities. The roles of dispersal limitation and spatial variation in dispersal and regeneration, and the evolution of population differentiation in a mosaic landscape are stressed. Finally, the question of why there are so many aromatic plants in the Mediterranean flora, and the function of variation among closely related species and among-populations in their dominant secondary metabolites is discussed.

Keywords:   landscape change, climate, aromatic plants, secondary compounds, succession, colonization

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