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sylvestris grows from sea level (along the Black Sea) to 3125 MASL in the Allahuekber Mountains of Eastern Anatolia (Eliēin 1971).
Wide geographical distribution resulted with considerable morphological and genetic diversity within P. sylvestris (Wright and Bull 1963; Pravdin 1969; Ruby 1967; Mirov 1967; Szmidt 1984; Wang et al. 1991; Androsiuk et al. 2011; Jasińska et al. 2014; Dering et al. 2017). Variation observed in its needle and cone characteristics resulted in the description of several subspecies and varieties (Gaussen 1960; Mirov 1967; Farjon 2008; Jasińska et al. 2014). Farjon (2008) reported the existence of three varieties of P. sylvestris: var. sylvestris, var. mongolica Litv., and var. hamata Steven. According to Farjon (2008), the distribution range of the var. sylvestris and var. hamata extend through Turkey. In addition, Kandemir and Mataracı (2018) described a new variety, var. elicinii Kandemir and Mataracı, from Turkey mainly based on needle length and color.
Jasińska et al. (2014) detected morphological differences between the East and West Anatolian populations of P. sylvestris. Similar results were also reported by Bilgen and Kaya (2007). The isolation of the eastern from western Anatolian populations was explained by the mountain ranges known as the Anatolian diagonal. In addition, Jasińska et al. (2014) stated that morphological pattern of diversity in Anatolian populations of the Scots pine may also be a result of: (1) another origin source - the western populations from the Balkans and the eastern ones from the Caucasus; and (2) different rates of evolution in the two regions. Furthermore, Dering et al. (2017) revealed strong spatial genetic structure within the Scots pine range, involving four distinct groups well related to the LPG refugial areas previously defined for this species (Naydenov et al. 2007; Pyhäjärvi et al. 2008; Sinclair et al. 1998, 1999). Authors revealed that two most spatially restricted groups of populations correspond to Scots pine refugia located on the Iberian and Asia Minor Peninsulas. Those populations represent the valuable relict genetic resources that are of high conservation priority (Naydenov et al. 2007; Pyhäjärvi et al. 2008; Dering et al. 2017).
The aim of the present study is to assess needle size variation among Scots pine populations of Turkey and identify relationships with respect to altitude.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
MATERIJAL I METODE
Samples for morphometric analysis were collected from eight natural Scots pine populations in Turkey (Table 1). Needles were sampled from 14 to 31 trees per population, and each individual tree was represented by 5 to 10 needles from well-grown shoots. In total 1314 needles belonging to 206 individuals were analyzed. The following traits were included in the analysis: needle length, needle width, needle length/needle width ratio, and sheath length.
Minimal and maximal values of characteristics were determined, and arithmetical means, standard deviation and variation coefficients were calculated and analyzed for each population. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the statistically significant differences between populations and between trees within populations.
The relationship between average values of morphological needle traits and altitude (e.g. Krauze-Michalska and Boratyńska 2013; Poljak et al. 2015, 2018) were tested using Spearmans coefficient (Sokal and Rohlf 2012).
Multivariate statistical methods were used to identify the population differentiation (McGarigal et al. 2000; Zebec et al. 2010; Poljak et al. 2012, 2018): cluster analysis and discriminant analysis. The conducted cluster analysis resulted in a hierarchical tree, where the unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) was used to join