At CREA-Mont-Blanc’s last Science Sandwich, Christophe Randin, ecologist at the Université de Lausanne and curator at the Vaud Canton’s Museum and Botanical Gardens, presented the Alp’s “warrior” plants and their impressive capacity for adaptation. Thanks to refuges in the unique micro-topography of mountains, some of them have managed to survive millions of years of changing climates. Will they be able to withstand today’s rapid climate warming?
Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum), a symbol of the Alps, is actually a relatively late arrival: during the colder clime of the last glaciation, alpine and steppe bridges formed between the Alps and Asia, allowing the Edelweiss to travel between 1 and 10 km a year from modern-day China to the Alps. Photo : C. Dentant (Parc national des Ecrins)