'Ulmus laevis' pallas, an endangered native elm

May 30, 2013

Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have confirmed by using DNA molecular markers that the Ulmus laevis species is native in the Iberian Peninsula.

A detailed study of the elm grove, carried out by the Forest Genetics and Physiology Research Group of the UPM within the Spanish Elm Program, explains the controversial issue of the origins of the Ulmus laevis. It was proved that using molecular makers of Nuclear and chloroplast DNA not only that the of this population in our country is similar or even higher than the but also this species survived in diverse parts of the during , as suggested the presence of exclusive chlorotypes.

The Ulmus laevis is an elm that differs from the Ulmus minor by its fruit and because it is a rare species in Spain. Because of its low frequency, the Flora Ibérica journal considers that it is an introduced species, ascribing its presence to wildlife. However, the study has allowed researchers to locate of a larger number of populations of this species in our country than expected. In addition, other works conducted by the group have determined the distribution area and the ecology of this specie in Spain that were unknown so far.

The results suggest that Ulmos laevis inhabits areas of acid soils and water availability, while the common elm occupies naturally basic soils and overcomes some summer drought. Although this species is very susceptible to (a disease that wiped out 99% of the Spanish elm) this pandemic do not mean a high risk for Ulmus laevis due to that the beetles (Scolytus spp.) that spread the disease do not feel attracted by this species.

As a consequence of the fragmentation and the small size of populations caused by the demolition of its habitat by humans, and according to the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Ulmus leaves must be considered a species in . Therefore, researchers from the UPM are demanding to develop strategies to preserve this species as its inclusion on the Red List of Spanish Vascular Flora in a way that these populations are protected by the state regulations.

According to the current law, Ulmus laevis is considered a native species, therefore it can be used in restoration projects and environmental improvements of riverbanks even in protected areas by the Natura 2000 network.

Explore further: Scientists seek an answer to an existential question for an East Texas hibiscus

More information: Venturas, M. et al. Human-induced changes on fine-scale genetic structure in Ulmus laevis Pallas wetland forests at its SW distribution limit, Plant Ecology 214 (2): 317-327. DOI: 10.1007/s11258-013-0170-5 . Feb 2013.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists clone 'survivor' elm trees

Mar 29, 2012

Scientists at the University of Guelph have found a way to successfully clone American elm trees that have survived repeated epidemics of their biggest killer — Dutch elm disease.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.