Investigation of the Responses of Anatolian High Mountain Plants to the Quaternary Climate Changes Using Genomic Methods and Niche Modelling Approach.

This project aims to reveal the effect of Quaternary climatic fluctuations on floral elements found in the alpine zone of high mountains. For this purpose, Heldreichia bupleurifolia (including all six infraspecific taxa), Noccaea oppositifolia and Phyllolepidium cyclocarpum subsp. cyclocarpum whose distributions largely match the Anatolian Diagonal and the Taurus Mountains, which are important biogeographical corridors and barriers in Anatolia, have been selected. Using these model taxa, local historical dynamics within Anatolia will be tested with both high-resolution next-generation RADseq data, and Ecological Niche Modelling. The main hypothesis of this study is that the expansion-contraction model during glacier and interglacial periods supported by numerous studies in Europe and North America is not suitable for complex geographies such as Anatolia. Despite its floristic richness, the number of studies testing historical processes that are responsible for Anatolia’s taxonomic richness is quite limited. We plan to reveal the floristic dynamics of Anatolia during the Quaternary by determining genomic diversity of taxa, gene flow between populations, possible hybridizations, adaptive responses to environmental variables, historical demographics, and current - historical dispersal routes used by these populations. To the best of our knowledge, no such comprehensive study which brings together phylogenetic, phylogeographic, and
population genomic analyses from 8 taxa, 60-70 populations, and 700 individuals and integrates molecular data with ecological niche modeling at this level has been attempted. We aim to build an alternative historical model for Anatolia which will be able to explain the response of these taxa to climatic change. In addition, historical (climate change, dispersal, local extinctions) or non-climatic (soil, bedrock, vegetation cover, etc.) factors responsible for the current distribution patterns of these taxa will be revealed. As a result, by understanding the effects of climate change on Anatolian plants and determining genomic hot-spots (refugia), the project will enable us to develop an action plan for Anatolian high mountain plants under climatic change. Furthermore, the
model organism Arabidopsis thaliana will be used as the reference genome in this study, so it will be possible to identify candidate genes responsible for adaptive responses of plants to environmental factors such as altitude, temperature, and precipitation. Identification of these genes will be the basis of further studies concentrating on gene expression or breeding practices (for members of commercial mustard (Brassicaceae)).

Phylogenetic relationships of Noccaea Moench (Brassicaceae) species from high-throughput genomic data

The genus Noccaea Moench (Brassicaceae) is one of the most problematic genera among crucifers. Phylogenetic relationships among species complexes in Noccaea are still unclear due to low level of mutation in commonly used loci including ITS, trnL-F etc. Therefore we are using next-generation RADseq data to resolve phylogenetic relationships in these problematic species complexes. Additionally we are planning to model trait evolution (annual vs. perennial life form, presence horn in fruit vs. absence etc.) in Noccaea.

Heldreichia bupleurifolia subsp. bupleurifolia

Noccaea rubescens (Schott & Kotschy ex Boiss.) F.K.Mey.

Phylogeography of Noccaea iberidea (Boiss.) Al-Shehbaz & Menke

The main goal of the project is to test responds of a high alpine plant- N. iberidea- (as a model species) to climate change during Pleistocene by using molecular and ecological niche modelling data.

Noccaea iberidea (Boiss.) Al-Shehbaz & Menke

Full Project List


Dr. Ihsan Al-Shehbaz (Missouri Botanical Gardens St. Louis)

Dr. Klaus Mummenhoff (Osnabrück University)

Dr. Martin Lysak (Masaryk University, Brno)

Dr. Dmitry A.German (Altai State University, Barnaul)

Dr. Burcu Tarıkahya-Hacıoğlu (Hacettepe University, Ankara)

Dr. Hasan Yıldırım (Ege University, İzmir)

Dr. Barış Uzilday (Ege, University, İzmir)

Dr. Kurtuluş Özgişi (Osmangazi University, Eskişehir)

Dr. Hakan Gür (Ahi Evran University, Kırşehir)

Dr. İsmail Eker (Abant İzzet Baysal University, Bolu)

Dr. Utku Perktaş (Hacettepe University, Ankara)

Dr. İsmail Kudret Sağlam (Koç University, İstanbul)

Dr. Çağatay Tavşanoğlu (Hacettepe University, Ankara)

Dr. Çağaşan Karacaoğlu (Hacettepe University, Ankara)

Dr. Emre Çilden (Hacettepe University, Ankara)