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Uppsala, Sweden

Forsman A.,Linnaeus University | Merila J.,University of Helsinki | Ebenhard T.,Swedish Biodiversity Center
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Evolutionary theory predicts that in metapopulations subject to rapid extinction-recolonization dynamics, natural selection should favour evolution of traits that enhance dispersal and recolonization ability. Metapopulations of field voles (Microtus agrestis) on islands in the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden, are characterized by frequent local extinction and recolonization of subpopulations. Here, we show that voles on the islands were larger and had longer feet than expected for their body size, compared with voles from the mainland; that body size and size-specific foot length increased with increasing geographical isolation and distance from mainland; and that the differences in body size and size-specific foot length were genetically based. These findings provide rare evidence for relatively recent (less than 1000 years) and rapid (corresponding to 100-250 darwins) evolution of traits facilitating dispersal and recolonization in island metapopulations. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Linden L.,University of Helsinki | Iwarsson M.,Swedish Biodiversity Center
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Ornamental crabapples are small landscape trees with charming flowers, colourful fruits and many growth forms. The first weeping crabapple cultivars, Malus prunifolia 'Pendula' and 'Pendula Nova', were described in Sweden around 150 years ago. Our study was aimed at identification and characterization of weeping crabapple clones by microsatellite markers and morphological traits. We analysed 13 Swedish and Finnish trees and 8 reference accessions including M. prunifolia 'Pendula' and three international cultivars belonging to its progeny. The 21 trees represented 13 distinct genotypes. Five local trees were identified as the historical 'Pendula', assumed to be extinct from the nursery trade. On the basis of morphological traits and historical records, two old Swedish trees were concluded to represent 'Pendula Nova'. The authenticity of the trees could not be confirmed by DNA markers because no known plant of the old cultivar was found in botanical collections. The Finnish clone 'Hyvingiensis' proved unique among the crabapple accessions studied. 'Hyvingiensis' was probably raised from seed at the Finnish State Railways Nurseries about 110 years ago. Several mislabellings were revealed among both the local and the reference samples. A novel identification key was created to aid discrimination between the clones by their morphological traits. A combination of DNA fingerprints, comparison of morphological traits and tracing information in relevant archives and old garden literature proved useful for solving the origin and identity of weeping crabapples. The results contribute to conservation of garden plants and stabilization of horticultural nomenclature. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Rundqvist S.,Umea University | Hedenas H.,Royal Swedish Academy Of Sciences | Sandstrom A.,Kaplansgatan 13 | Emanuelsson U.,Swedish Biodiversity Center | And 4 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2011

Shrubs and trees are expected to expand in the sub-Arctic due to global warming. Our study was conducted in Abisko, sub-arctic Sweden. We recorded the change in coverage of shrub and tree species over a 32- to 34-year period, in three 50 × 50 m plots; in the alpine-tree-line ecotone. The cover of shrubs and trees (<3.5 cm diameter at breast height) were estimated during 20092010 and compared with historical documentation from 1976 to 1977. Similarly, all tree stems (≥3.5 cm) were noted and positions determined. There has been a substantial increase of cover of shrubs and trees, particularly dwarf birch (Betula nana), and mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii), and an establishment of aspen (Populus tremula). The other species willows (Salix spp.), juniper (Juniperus communis), and rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) revealed inconsistent changes among the plots. Although this study was unable to identify the causes for the change in shrubs and small trees, they are consistent with anticipated changes due to climate change and reduced herbivory. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011.

Hedenas H.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Hedenas H.,Royal Swedish Academy Of Sciences | Carlsson B.A.,Uppsala University | Emanuelsson U.,Swedish Biodiversity Center | And 5 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2012

Plant species distributions are expected to shift and diversity is expected to decline as a result of global climate change, particularly in the Arctic where climate warming is amplified. We have recorded the changes in richness and abundance of vascular plants at Abisko, sub-Arctic Sweden, by re-sampling five studies consisting of seven datasets; one in the mountain birch forest and six at open sites. The oldest study was initiated in 1977-1979 and the latest in 1992. Total species number increased at all sites except for the birch forest site where richness decreased. We found no general pattern in how composition of vascular plants has changed over time. Three species, Calamagrostis lapponica, Carex vaginata and Salix reticulata, showed an overall increase in cover/frequency, while two Equisetum taxa decreased. Instead, we showed that the magnitude and direction of changes in species richness and composition differ among sites. Copyright © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012.

Blicharska M.,Swedish Biodiversity Center | Blicharska M.,Uppsala University | Orlikowska E.H.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Roberge J.-M.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Grodzinska-Jurczak M.,Jagiellonian University
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016

Successful conservation needs to be informed by social science because it is closely linked to socio-economic processes and human behaviour. Limited knowledge about ecosystems' interactions with these processes currently undermines conservation efforts. This review provides a comprehensive synthesis of social science concerning the world's largest multinationally-coordinated conservation infrastructure: the European Ecological Network - 'Natura 2000'. Based on a review of 149 publications, we analyse and discuss the main findings and outline key social-science research gaps with regard to the Natura 2000 network. The review shows that human dimension of the Natura 2000 network is complex and varies among EU Member States. In general, low level and quality of public participation in implementation of the Natura 2000 network and its management, negative public perceptions of the network, lack of flexibility of responsible authorities and insufficient consideration of the local context pose the greatest challenges to the network's functioning. Important but hitherto little studied research topics include: evaluation of participation; effects of education on potential to raise public awareness; effects of potential financing mechanisms for compensating private land-owners; economic studies on cost-effectiveness; and benefits from conservation and ecosystem services. These knowledge gaps will need to be filled for the Natura 2000 network to reach its goals. © 2016.

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