Does the seed bank contribute to the build-up of a genetic extinction debt for grassland populations of Campanula rotundifolia?

Genetic diversity was highest in above-ground populations, though below-ground populations contained 8 % of unique alleles that were absent above-ground.
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Many plant species manage to postpone eventual local extinction, through longevity-conserving strategies such as building a soil seed bank. Plue et al. test whether seed banks can achieve temporal delays in the loss of genetic diversity that is referred to as a species extinction debt.

Campanula rotundifolia
Campanula rotundifolia

In fragmented grassland populations of Campanula rotundifolia, genetic diversity today is still at surprisingly high levels despite substantial habitat loss. For populations exhibiting a genetic extinction debt the limited; unique genetic diversity of the seed bank alone seems unable to significantly mitigate or counter the detrimental effects of habitat fragmentation on C. rotundifolia′s population genetic structure.

Reference

Plue, J., Vandepitte, K., Honnay, O., & Cousins, S. A. O. (2017). Does the seed bank contribute to the build-up of a genetic extinction debt in the grassland perennial Campanula rotundifolia? Annals of Botany, 120(3), 373–385. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx057


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