Depart. T&E > PD ” Modeling past, current and future endemic plant species distribution in South-Eastern Carpathians for biogeographic analysis and conservation planning” (2013-2015)

Project title: “Modeling past, current and future endemic plant species distribution in South-Eastern Carpathians for biogeographic analysis and conservation planning”

UEFISCDI record no. 16/25.04.2013

Program Name in PNII: Resurse Umane

Project type: Post-doctoral research project

Project manager: Hurdu Bogdan-Iuliu;

Summary (EN): Historical and ecological factors influence the distribution of species across all environments. Last major events in Earth’s history, the Pleistocene glaciations, have shaped the current areal of species and determined evolutionary processes of speciation and extinction. The best imprint of these biogeographic and evolutionary phenomena resides in the current distribution of endemic species, biological entities characterized by a limited distribution to one or few geographic units. Analyzing their distribution through state of the art methodological and technical approaches can offer valuable information on these processes. Our proposed study aims at disentangling three main aspects of patterns of endemism in an important mountain range of the European Alpine System: the South-Eastern Carpathians. The first approach focuses on the Postglacial areal dynamics of endemic species by using an ensemble approach for species distribution modeling implemented in BIOMOD software and paleoclimatic data. The second approach aims at optimizing the spatial structure of protected areas network in the South-Eastern Carpathians through the use of actual and potential endemic species distribution. The main criteria for conservation prioritization will be protected areas connectivity and the influence of climate change on species distribution. Finally, we will investigate the biogeography of the South-Eastern Carpathians by means of quantitative biogeography.

Summary (RO): Factorii istorici și ecologici influențează în egală măsură distribuția speciilor în toate mediile de viață. Ultimele evenimente majore din istoria Terrei, glaciațiunile pleistocene, au modelat arealul actual al speciilor, determinând procese evolutive precum speciația sau extincția. Amprenta cea mai pregnantă a acestor evenimente biogeografice si evolutive o poartă speciile endemice, entități biologice caracterizate printr-o distribuție limitată la una sau câteva unități geografice. Prin analiza distribuției speciilor endemice, utilizând unelte statistice de ultimă generație, putem obține informații valoroase asupra acestor procese modelatoare. Studiul propus de noi urmărește lămurirea a trei aspecte importante ce afectează pattern-urile de endemism din cadrul unui important lanț muntos al Sistemului Alpin European: Carpații Sud-Estici. Prima abordare privește investigarea dinamicii arealului taxonilor endemici în perioada postglaciară, prin intermediul ansamblelor de modele de distribuție potențială, utilizând pachetul statistic BIOMOD și date paleoclimatice. A doua abordare urmărește optimizarea structurii spațiale a rețelei de arii protejate din Carpații Sud-Estici folosind modelele de distribuție potențială a taxonilor endemici. Principalele criterii folosite în prioritizarea strategiilor de conservare vor fi conectivitatea ariilor și influența schimbărilor climatice asupra distribuției speciilor. În final, a treia abordare privește utilizarea metodelor de biogeografie cantitativă aplicate datelor de distribuție ale taxonilor endemici pentru a investiga biogeografia Carpaților Sud-Estici.


The major objective of the project regards the usage of species distribution modeling tools in order to analyze the patterns of endemism in the South-Eastern Carpathians.

The specific objectives are:

O1. To complete the database for endemic plant taxa distribution in the South-Eastern Carpathians by carrying documenting visits at herbariums in Ukraine, Hungary and Romania, surveying the literature from all the Carpathian countries (Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia) and field sampling;

O2. To analyze the patterns of endemism in postglacial period through species distribution modeling in order to identify highly suitable stable habitats across time, possible candidates for historical refugias;

O3. To optimize spatial conservation strategies through the use of species distribution modeling, landcover, geologic and climatic data in current and future climate change scenarios;

O4. To identify the biogeographic barriers and of main biogeographic area clusters from the South-Eastern Carpathians based on the distribution of endemic plant taxa.

Expected results:

1.     Finalizing the database comprising endemic plant taxa distribution in the South-Eastern Carpathians by critically analyzing the existing database and improving it through field sampling, herbarium (Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Poland and Ukraine) and literature surveys. The database will also include photo-documentation of all the herbarium collections visited, as well as macro photography of most of the endemic plant taxa from the South-Eastern Carpathians, which will finally be used in publishing a monograph regarding the endemism in the South-Eastern Carpathian Mountains.

2.     Attending at least two International Conferences with biogeography profile to present the obtained results of the research activity from the project.

3.     Compiling the results for Postglacial species distribution modeling of endemic taxa for the South-Eastern Carpathians and preparing a manuscript to be submitted to Ecography, Journal of Biogeography or similar impact factor (>4) journal.

4.     Compiling the results for spatial conservation optimization of protected areas in the South-Eastern Carpathians and preparing a manuscript to be submitted to Biodiversity & Conservation or similar impact factor (>2) journal.

5.     Compiling the results for clustering analysis and biogeographic barriers delimitation in the South-Eastern Carpathians and preparing a manuscript to be submitted to Flora or similar impact factor (>1,5) journal.