Modelling the location of interglacial microrefugia for cold-adapted species: insights from the terrain-mediated distribution of Rhododendron tomentosum in a temperate region in central Europe
Tomáš Radoměřský 1 2 3 , Přemysl Bobek 4 , Matěj Man 4 , Helena Svitavská Svobodová 4 & Petr Kuneš 3
- Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 6, CZ-12843, Prague, Czech Republic
- Czech Geological Survey, Klárov 3, CZ-11821, Prague, Czech Republic
- Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Benátská 2, CZ-12843 Praha, Czech Republic
- Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Zámek 1, CZ-25243 Průhonice, Czech Republic
Published: 5 June 2023 , https://doi.org/10.23855/preslia.2023.267
Rhododendron tomentosum is a vascular plant common in northern regions of Europe, Asia and North America. In central Europe, this species is considered a glacial relict. In recent years, systematic floristic mapping of the distribution of this species in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park has revealed that this rare and highly sensitive species is strongly associated with a specific type of habitat. Rhododendron tomentosum adapted to environmental changes throughout the Holocene: soil acidification, repeated fires and negative effect of forestry on species composition. To identify the survival mechanisms of R. tomentosum, suitable sites in well-preserved parts of a sandstone landscape with assumed minimal human influence were selected. Based on data from intensive field sampling and a set of environmental variables for the whole area of the National Park, habitat suitability maps for R. tomentosum were developed. These maps were then combined with the palaeoecological data and used to identify sources of pollen with greater precision and extend the knowledge of the potential distribution of R. tomentosum outside the intensively sampled areas. Palaeoecological data was particularly useful for reconstructing the past population dynamics of R. tomentosum. The results indicate the long-term stability of sites suitable for this species, supported by locally diversified vegetation development in sandstone areas. This research could therefore provide the first direct evidence of the persistence of R. tomentosum micropopulations throughout a large part of the Holocene.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park, environmental changes, glacial relict, habitat suitability, palaeoecological data, potential distribution, sandstone areas.
How to cite
Radoměřský T., Bobek P., Man M., Svitavská Svobodová H. & Kuneš P. (2023) Modelling the location of interglacial microrefugia for cold-adapted species: insights from the terrain-mediated distribution of Rhododendron tomentosum in a temperate region in central Europe. – Preslia 95: 267