After an intensive season from June to September, the field work in the first year of the LUZALP project was successfully completed. In total, researcher Valentin Heimer collected nearly 3000 woodrush (Luzula) individuals at over 200 sites throughout the Eastern Alps. In doing so, he not only collected leaf material for genetic analyses, but also recorded the accompanying vegetation of each individual. These data form the basis for the LUZALP project, in which, together with partners from the University of Innsbruck and the Fondazione Edmund Mach Research Institute, the evolution, relationships and ecological differentiation of eight species of woodrush (Luzula sect. Luzula) in the Eastern Alps are being studied. Based on this year’s fieldwork, Heimer will conduct comprehensive genetic and ecological analyses over the next two years to decipher the mechanisms of diversification of this group and its role in grassland biodiversity in the Alps.
The three-year LUZALP research project combines the expertise of researchers* from the fields of field botany, ecology, and evolutionary and molecular biology. The project is supported by the Euregio Research Fund, which aims to promote cooperation between scientists from South and North Tyrol and Trentino. Besides Eurac Research, the University of Innsbruck and the research institute Fondazione Edmund Mach are involved in the project. The project is led by Bozo Frajman (University of Innsbruck).