Glacial refugia: description, properties, importance

Posted: 04/02/2013 by arilab in Opinions, Science we read
Tags: , , ,

ImageThe location and the nature of glacial refugia, as well as their influence on the genetic diversity of plant species and biodiversity in general, is the main focus of my research during the last 10 years. In this blog, I will upload a series of articles on glacial refugia, in order to stimulate an exchange of views and ideas.

The article of Médail and Diadema of 2009, Glacial refugia influence plant diversity patterns in the Mediterranean Basin, J. Biogeography, 36 (7): 1333–1345, is a very interesting review on the issue. This is so, especially due to the comparison of phylogeographical refugia and regional hotspots, using the outcome of several previous studies on several species. The outcome of their study (as described in the abstract) is that “the locations of refugia are determined by complex historical and environmental factors, the cumulative effects of which need to be considered because they have occurred since the Tertiary, rather than solely during the last glacial period”. This means that postglacial movement has occurred several times for different directions in the past. “Refugia represent climatically stable areas. They constitute a high conservation priority as key areas for the long-term persistence of species and genetic diversity, especially given the threat posed by the extensive environmental change processes operating in the Mediterranean region”. 

The article can be found in J.Biogeography’s website: It can be also downloaded here:


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