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Genetic diversity is an important measure for biodiversity in alpine plants
Intraspecific, genetic diversity is rarely used as a measure for biodiversity, although it may reflect the adaptive potential of species in changing environments. The international project IntraBioDiv examined whether intraspecific diversity coincides with other measures of biodiversity. Furthermore, it evaluated if protection measures for alpine plants may be improved if intraspecific diversity were considered.
Species richness is the most widely used measure for biodiversity assessment. However, it is intraspecific diversity (genetic polymorphism) that represents the evolutionary and adaptive potential of each species in changing environments. To evaluate how the different measures of biodiversity may serve as surrogates for each other, the IntraBioDiv consortium studied possible correlations between intraspecific diversity and species richness or habitat diversity.
Our objectives were:
We asked the following specific questions, using the Alps and the Carpathians as model systems: