Project in the picture

Landscape genetics of insect-pollinated forest herbs

Most of the biodiversity in agricultural landscapes can be found in small fragments of semi-natural habitats. However, long-term survival in habitat fragments requires habitat specialists to exchange regularly individuals or diaspores among local populations. In this project, we will combine population genetic and landscape ecological approaches to study, under which circumstances spatially isolated forest herb populations are able to remain genetically connected across the agricultural landscape.


It is unclear, under which circumstances in terms of mating strategy and landscape structure forest herbs are able to exchange genes among local populations. Our project will provide basic knowledge for the development of management strategies that facilitate gene flow among forest herb populations and therefore their long-term survival.


We will study the regional population genetic structure of three different forest herb species and associated insect pollinators in three to seven different agricultural landscapes spread across northwestern Europe. Genotyping will be based on microsatellite markers. Effects of both the current and historical landscape structure will be analyzed.


The project is jointly implemented by the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and the Senckenberg German Entomological Institute (SDEI) in Muncheberg, Germany, in collaboration with the FLEUR network. Principal investigator is Dr. Tobias Naaf (naaf[AT] The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).