Rapid evolution towards heavy metal resistance by mountain birch around two subarctic copper-nickel smelters.


:Adaptations to pollution among long-lived trees have rarely been documented, possibly because of their long reproductive cycles and the evolutionarily short timescales of anthropogenic pollution. Here, I present the results of a greenhouse experiment that suggest rapid evolutionary adaptation of mountain birch [Betula pubescens subsp. czerepanovii (Orlova) Hämet-Ahti] to heavy metal (HM) stress around two copper-nickel smelters in NW Russia. The adaptation incurs a cost with reduced performance of adapted seedlings in pristine conditions. The industrial barrens around the studied smelters are extremely high-stress sites with low seed germination and survival. It is likely that strong natural selection has eliminated all sensitive genotypes within one or two generations, with only the most tolerant individuals persisting and producing adapted seeds in the individual barrens. The results were similar from around both smelters, suggesting parallel evolution towards HM resistance.


J Evol Biol


Eränen JK




Has Abstract


2008-03-01 00:00:00














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