Disentangling evolutionary adaptation from transient acclimation to alpine environments in Arabidopsis arenosa

Runtime: 2018 – 2023

Funding: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)


The capability of plants to respond to altered environmental factors enables them to colonise new habitats. Such responses involve short-term adjustments in form and function, termed "acclimation", but also genetically fixed "adaptations" acquired through evolution, and can lead to the formations of new "ecotypes". These are locally adapted populations that can still interbreed. In this project we will use transplantation experiments in combination with state-of-the-art "metabolite profiling" of the sand rock-cress, Arabidopsis arenosa, to elucidate the contribution of acclimation and adaptation in determining the traits that distinguish the alpine from the lowland ecotype of this plant in four European mountain ranges.


Karl Hülber