Annals of Botany

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.

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.