Research focus: Mechanisms of speciation in the Royal Irises | Nature Campus

A study recently completed in the Botanical Garden dealt with the mechanisms that maintain species boundaries between the Israeli species of the Royal Irises (Iris section Oncocyclus).

The study was performed by MSc student Inna Osmolovsky, supervised by Dr Yuval Sapir, the Garden’s director. Inna examined the extent of reproductive barriers among the eight Israeli species, mostly carried out in the Iris collection maintained in the Botanical Garden. It included a large-scale eco-geographical study on the potential ecological niche of the species, and revealed that this is probably the major driver of divergence in this group. The findings from this study contribute to a better understanding of the ecological and genetic determinants of species’ existence, which may provide better practices for their conservation, as the entire royal iris species are categorized as endangered in the IUCN red list. 

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