Exploring species abundance, richness and distribution of Charophytes in Israel

Charophytes are considered the closest living relatives to land plants. They include living

plants of the family Charopyceae and several extinct lineages (i.e., families) with partial

traces in the fossil record. The Charopyceae family includes six genera (Chara, Nitella,

Lamprothamnium, Tolypella, Lychnothamnus, and Nitellopsis). A previous study by

Romanov and Barinova (2012) has surveyed the historical and modern data of

Charophytes in Israel. In this study, 23 locations of Charophytes were reported from

Northern to southern Negev of Israel. Seven species and one variety of Charophytes were

found out of 15 species and four genera according the published data. In order to increase

our knowledge about species richness and distribution of Charophytes in Israel, we

propose to use a continuous detection methodology; that is, to frequently sample

Charophytes in their native habitats in Israel. This approach will allow us to study

Charophytes’ dynamics better than sampling many habitats but rarely. Using a molecular

toll, as AFLP markers, we will be able to distinguish between different varieties, species

and orders. In addition, the genetic polymorphism in the community can be identified

with AFLP and used to estimate the genetic distance among species. This data may be also related to habitat characteristics.