Distribution of polyploidy along a relatively steep Andean elevation gradient is studied using the genus Fosterella (Bromeliaceae) as a model system. Paule et al. observed an ecological differentiation of cytotypes with polyploids preferentially occupying colder habitats with high annual temperature variability (seasonality).
Ancestral chromosome number reconstructions suggest a link between polyploidizations, dispersal events and range shifts. The results indicate polyploidy’s role in generating speciation in a topographically highly structured and climatically diverse landscape.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Polyploidy in Ecology and Evolution. It will be free access until October 2017, then available only to subscribers until August 2018 when it will be free access again.