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Data from: Influence of environmental factors on the genetic variation of the aquatic macrophyte Ranunculus subrigidus on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Citation

Wu, Zhigang et al. (2019), Data from: Influence of environmental factors on the genetic variation of the aquatic macrophyte Ranunculus subrigidus on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j6q573n8v

Abstract

Background: Due to the environmental heterogeneity along elevation gradients, alpine ecosystems are ideal study objects for investigating how ecological variables shape the genetic patterns of natural species. The highest region in the world, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, is a hotspot for the studies of evolutionary processes in plants. Many large rivers spring from the plateau, providing abundant habitats for aquatic and amphibious organisms. In the present study, we examined the genetic diversity of 13 Ranunculus subrigidus populations distributed throughout the plateau in order to elucidate the relative contribution of geographic distance and environmental dissimilarity to the spatial genetic pattern.

Results: A relatively low level of genetic diversity within populations was found. No spatial genetic structure was suggested by the analyses of molecular variance, Bayesian clustering analysis and Mantel tests. Partial Mantel tests and multiple matrix regression analysis showed a significant influence of the environment on the genetic divergence of the species. Both climatic and water quality variables contribute to the habitat heterogeneity of R. subrigidus populations.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that historical processes involving long-distance dispersal and local adaptation may account for the genetic patterns of R. subrigidus and current environmental factors play an important role in the genetic differentiation and local adaptation of aquatic plants in alpine landscapes.