Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (7): 766-774.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0406

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Historical distribution patterns and environmental drivers of relict shrub Amygdalus pedunculata

YAN Han1, MA Song-Mei1,*(), WEI Bo2, ZHANG Hong-Xiang3, ZHANG Dan1   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Arid Land Landscape Ecology, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Key Laboratory of Oasis Town and Mountain-basin System Ecology, College of Science, Shihezi University, Shihezi, Xinjiang 832000, China
    2Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ürümqi 830011, China
  • Received:2021-11-11 Accepted:2021-12-28 Online:2022-07-20 Published:2022-06-09
  • Contact: MA Song-Mei
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41561007);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41261011);Grassland Ecological Restoration and Management Subsidy Project of Grassland Station of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region(XJCYZZ202007)


Aims Amygdalus pedunculata is a relict shrub plant, distributed in arid and semi-arid deserts and mountainous areas of northwest China. In order to understand its distribution and evolution under the historical climate change, we performed an analysis on 60 natural distribution points and 8 environmental factors, using GIS spatial analysis and maximum entropy model MaxEnt 3.4.1. We then analyzed the changes in geographical distributions and their environmental drivers of A. pedunculata during the Last Inter Glacial (LIG), the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the present period.

Methods Based on the simulated distribution data of A. pedunculata in different periods and chloroplast gene data of the natural populations, we simulated the possible diffusion path of A. pedunculata since the LIG period by the least cost path method. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to analyze the historical environmental variables in the suitable areas of A. pedunculata in different periods by “ggbiplot” package of R language. By doing so, we then determined the key climatic factors affecting the historical distribution pattern of A. pedunculata.

Important findings The historical distribution of A. pedunculata has experienced significant contraction since the LIG period but significant expansion after the LGM. From the LIG to the LGM period, the suitable distribution areas of A. pedunculata significantly contracted in the eastern Hobq Desert, the northern Mau Us Desert, the northern Shaanxi Province, the northern Yinshan Mountain, the southern Ulan Qab Plateau, and the Onqin Daga Desert. In contrast, since the LGM, A. pedunculata has undergone significant expansion in the eastern Hobq Desert, the central Mau Us Desert, east Yinshan Mountain, and the western Onqin Daga Desert. There were highly suitable distribution areas of A. pedunculata in the middle and western parts of Nei Mongol Plateau in three periods, including the northern edge of Mau Us Desert, the eastern edge of Hobq Desert and Daqing Mountain. It is possible that these areas may be the ice age shelter of A. pedunculata. The Yin Shan Mountain in the north and the edge of Mau Us Desert was the important diffusion corridor. From the LIG to the LGM, the temperature, including the min temperature of the coldest month, the annual mean diurnal range and the max temperature of the warmest month, all fluctuantly decreased over time. The distribution of A. pedunculata during the ice age was limited by the cold and dry climate, and the suitable area contracted significantly. The precipitation in wettest month and the precipitation seasonality have increased significantly since the LGM period. Amygdalus pedunculata has expanded significantly in the eastern Hobq Desert, the central part of Mau Us Desert, Yinshan Mountain and the western Part of Onqin Daga Desert. Precipitation was also a key limiting factor affecting the current suitable distribution.

Key words: Amygdalus pedunculata, historical distribution pattern, diffusion path, the Last Inter Glacial, the Last Glacial Maximum