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Pollen dispersal patterns and population persistence in a small isolated population of Fagus crenata
- Inanaga, Michiko, Koyama, Yasuhiro, Ida, Hideyuki, Okada, Mitsuhiro, Nakanishi, Atsushi, Takahashi, Makoto, Tomaru, Nobuhiro
- Tree genetics & genomes 2016 v.12 no.4 pp. 69
- Fagus crenata, alleles, gene flow, genetic drift, genetic variation, heterozygosity, inbreeding, linkage disequilibrium, mature plants, microsatellite repeats, outbreeding, parentage, pollen, pollen flow, population dynamics, population size, progeny, seedlings, seeds
- The potential of long-distance pollen dispersal and the effects of small population size and population isolation on persistence of Fagus crenata populations were investigated in a small, severely isolated population (the Gofuku-ji population) and two other populations located within 7 km of this population (including 87 adult trees in total). Parentage analysis using 13 microsatellite loci showed that 94 of 100 seedlings derived from seeds collected from the Gofuku-ji population had parent pairs within this population, six had one parent within the population, and four of the six seedlings had alleles that were not detected in any of the three populations, indicating that some pollen is dispersed over distances exceeding 7 km. The estimated expected heterozygosity and effective population size were lower in the Gofuku-ji population than in previously examined large continuous populations. Therefore, levels of genetic diversity within the population may have been reduced by strong genetic drift and limitations of pollen- and seed-mediated gene flow associated with the small size and severe isolation. The contemporary mating pattern estimated at the seedling stage was biased toward outbreeding, which may be explained by possible processes: the level of inbreeding in the adult trees is increased; then, inbreeding frequently occurs but is rarely successful, while outbreeding successfully produces offspring. Additionally, high levels of significant linkage disequilibrium and higher numbers of alleles than expected under mutation–drift equilibrium from analyses of the populations’ evolutionary history suggest that the Gofuku-ji population may have experienced admixture before its severe isolation. Therefore, the persistence of the Gofuku-ji population is being adversely affected by the decrease in population size and severe isolation. Further studies of gene flow via pollen in other populations with various degrees of isolation could enhance our understanding of the effects of population isolation and long-distance pollen dispersal in F. crenata and similar species.