Assessment of wild grapevine (Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris) chlorotypes and accompanying woody species in the Eastern Adriatic region
The Eastern Adriatic region, encompassing Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is considered an important area of natural populations of wild grapevines (Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris). The wild grapevine arises in the Eastern Adriatic region in a contact zone of the EUMediterranean and the sub-Mediterranean characterized by typical karst relief. This study focuses on the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) analysis of wild grapevines and the biodiversity of accompanying woody species to better understand the genetic variation of the sylvestris populations of the Eastern Adriatic region and to investigate how this variation fits within today's wild grapevine distribution in the European continent. The allelic variation at nine cpDNA microsatellite loci of wild individuals was used to characterize haplotype diversity in 53 individuals from four population sites. All individuals were grouped into two chlorotypes: A and D, D being the rare haplotype among wild populations on the European continent. In total, 52 woody plant species were identified. However, the studied vegetation structures have been affected by permanent human pressure on natural resources and the preservation status of the collection sites. Based on our results, we conclude that the investigated areas were probably shelter zones for wild grapevine preservation during the unfavorable glaciation era.