Demographic and ecogeographic factors limit wild grapevine spread at the southern edge of its distribution range

Oshrit Rahimi, Noa Ohana-Levi, Hodaya Brauner, Nimrod Inbar, Sariel Hübner, Elyashiv Drori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The spatial distribution of plants is constrained by demographic and ecogeographic factors that determine the range and abundance of the species. Wild grapevine (Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris) is distributed from Switzerland in the north to Israel in the south. However, little is known about the ecogeographic constraints of this species and its genetic and phenotypic characteristics, especially at the southern edge of its distribution range in the Levant region. In this study, we explore the population structure of southern Levantine wild grapevines and the correlation between demographic and ecogeographic characteristics. Based on our genetic analysis, the wild grapevine populations in this region can be divided into two major subgroups in accordance with a multivariate spatial and ecogeographical clustering model. The identified subpopulations also differ in morphological traits, mainly leaf hairiness which may imply adaptation to environmental stress. The findings suggest that the Upper Jordan River population was spread to the Sea of Galilee area and that a third smaller subpopulation at the south of the Golan Heights may represent a distinguished gene pool or a recent establishment of a new population. A spatial distribution model indicated that distance to water sources, Normalized difference vegetation index, and precipitation are the main environmental factors constraining V. v. sylvestris distribution at its southern distribution range. These factors in addition to limited gene flow between populations prevent further spread of wild grapevines southwards to semi-arid regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6657-6671
Number of pages15
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ecogeographic constraints
  • maxent
  • multivariate spatial clustering
  • phenotypic diversity
  • population genetic structure
  • wild grapevine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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