Log in

- The Project -


The main objective of the project is to substantially increase knowledge over endemic, endangered and rare vascular plants of the Carpathian Region and in this way contribute to a better understanding of evolution of the Carpathian biota and its conservation.

These elements of the flora have been chosen as the focus of the project because:
(1) They constitute a unique contribution to the European biodiversity.
(2) They are important examples of evolution of the regional biota and can be considered excellent proxies for understanding processes that shaped the biodiversity of the Carpathians.

The project will be predominantly focused on Carpathian endemics and sub-endemics, but will also include regional endangered species, found at the edge of their distribution in the Carpathian Region (e.g. Carpathian-Balkan elements or disjunctly distributed Alpine-Carpathian species) or major drivers of certain ecosystems (e.g., alpine). This includes, besides the Carpathian Mountains, also adjacent Pannonian lowlands and Transylvanian basin.

1. Long-term seed conservation of the Carpathian flora, with a focus on (sub-)endemics

Within this project the Romanian and Slovak partners will collect 500 species over a three year period (2019-2021) that occur in the Carpathian Region and are new to the collections of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. Data associated with the collections will contribute to the MSBP global seed conservation target of “Securing 25% of the world’s bankable flora in participating seed banks of the MSBP by 2020”. The collections will be stored in both the Kew’s Millenium Seed Bank at Wakehurst and in the National Seed Banks from Romania and Slovakia. This will constitute the basis for assuring a buffer against extinction risks and the seeds will be used for reintroducing extinct species in their natural habitats, when required.

2. Research into the biosystematics of selected Carpathian endemic taxa and taxa groups

The aims of the research undertaken in project are to better understand the biological identity of Carpathian (sub-)endemics and to elucidate the role of the Carpathians in shaping of genetic diversity of European mountain flora. Complex biosystematic investigations of selected representative taxa will include: comparative taxonomic and phylogenetic evaluations of target taxa within their genus, population dynamics and demography, detailed genetic diversity and biogeographic analyses. Results will enable the reconstruction of likely Pleistocene glacial refugia and postglacial colonisation routes for the taxa concerned. Genetic patterns will help identify contact and break zones among smaller geographic units within the Carpathian arc, and their role in the evolution of the Carpathian flora including diversification of endemics. This will enable to test the hypothesis that particular habitats in the Carpathians represented a continental evolutionary hotspot and glacial refugia for European mountain flora.
Five model genera which include also Carpathian endemics, found in mid-altitudinal up to alpine habitats reported to harbour relict genetic diversity, have been chosen:

    Carex L. (C. curvula agg.)
    Daphne L. (D. arbuscula Čelak. and D. petraea Leyb.)
    Draba L. (Sect. Aizopsis, Sect. Chrysodraba and Sect. Leucodraba)
    Silene zawadzkii Herbich
    Soldanella L. (Sect. Soldanella)

3. Establishing a Carpathian Research Network (CRN) focused on the study on plant endemism

This project will establish a comprehensive, stable and long-lasting framework for enhancing the sharing and standardisation of valuable scientific data on the Carpathian biota and especially vascular plants endemics between representative research centres from several Carpathian countries (Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia). Within this project, specific aims of the CRN Consortium are:

   1. Developing the Carpathian Region’s endemics and sub-endemics distribution database
   2. Developing an online platform of the CRN for public dissemination of research results
   3. Assessing the extinction risk of the most vulnerable Carpathian endemics and sub-endemics
   4. Investigating the biodiversity patterns and biogeographical relationships among different units of the Carpathian Region based on the distribution of endemics
   5. Developing the first monograph covering the entire Carpathian Region’s endemic flora.