Ecological restoration of disturbed mountainous areas - population genetics and genetic diversity in an applied setting
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- Master's theses (IPM) 
Natural recovery of disturbed mountainous sites is hardly possible, due to the harsh environmental conditions that are typical of the alpine biome. Ecological restoration through exploitation of site-specific seed mixtures has the potential to counteract losses of ecosystem functionality in disturbed sites. Two alpine plant species, Phleum alpinum and Leontodon autumnalis, were assessed for their geographical genetic structure and genetic diversity throughout Norway’s mainland with the aim to delineate phytogeographical zones, which should function as a precursor for their inclusion in site-specific seed mixtures. Samples were taken from single populations at 20 locations, covering all regions in the whole country. Fifteen individuals from both species at each location were investigated with amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. This resulted in three distinct phytogeographical zones in P. alpinum, while L. autumnalis lacked obvious genetic structure and hence classified as one phytogeographical zone. Optimal source locations for commercial seed production were identified with Nei’s gene diversity and frequency down weighted gene diversity. When seed mixtures would only contain these two alpine species, the optimal source locations would be Ofoten in northern Norway, Trollheimen in central Norway and Hardangervidda øst in southern Norway. The findings of this study are ideal in regards to their usefulness for site-specific seed mixtures, however, further research is needed to identify desirable seed establishment traits and their expression requirements. Additionally, more work should be done to answer the question in which scenario ecological restoration with site-specific seeds is a wise approach, and when it is better to resort to an appropriate alternative.