Ecological and geographical studies of Poa versicolor (Poaceae) aggregate in Asian Russia and adjacent territories


Ecological niche modeling
niches comparison
niche conservatism
grasses distribution

How to Cite

Olonova, M. V., Vysokikh, T. S., & Romanets, R. S. (2023). Ecological and geographical studies of Poa versicolor (Poaceae) aggregate in Asian Russia and adjacent territories. Acta Biologica Sibirica, 9, 1141–1166.


Aggregate Pоа versicolor (Poaceae) contains closely related xeromorphic species distributed mainly in temperate regions of Asia. The most common species are P. transbaicalica, P. relaxa, P. ochotensisP.  botryoides and P. argunensis. They play an important role in the structure of steppe communities, but this aggregate is known to be difficult for the systematics. The previous research of morphological diversity and distribution confirmed morphological and geographical diversification within the aggregate, however, their ecological-climatic niches were not studied. The goal of this study was to reveal whether the species of the P. versicolor aggregate occupied the equivalent or similar niches, or the morphological diversification was accompanied by niche change. Equivalence and similarity tests were used. A comparative study of the ecological-climatic niches showed that the niches only of the most similar pairs P. transbaicalica P. botryoides, and P. argunensis P. botryoides were identical or equivalent. All other pairs of species were not identical and confirmed the expected diversification, revealed by previous morphological and geographic analysis. Nevertheless, the studies using the background test, which takes into account environmental features, has revealed niche conservatism at the aggregate level. The ecological-climatic niches of five species within the P. versicolor aggregate proved to be similar, but not equivalent in all species. Thus, our data show that partial or complete geographic divergence and morphological diversification of species is not accompanied by diversification of their ecological niches.


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