Hybridization is a widespread phenomenon in the evolution of plants and exploring its role is crucial to understanding diversification processes of many taxonomic groups. Recently, more attention is focused on the role of ancient hybridization that has repeatedly been shown as triggers of evolutionary radiation, although in some cases, it can prevent further diversification. The causes, frequency, and consequences of ancient hybridization remain to be explored.
Although whole-genome duplication (WGD) is an important speciation force, we still lack a consensus on the role of niche differentiation in polyploid evolution. In addition, the role of genome doubling per se vs. later divergence on polyploid niche evolution remains obscure. One reason for this might be that the intraspecific genetic structure of polyploid complexes and interploidy gene flow is often neglected in ecological studies. Here, we aim to investigate to which extent these evolutionary processes impact our inference on niche differentiation of autopolyploids.