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Title

Genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation in long-lived tree species: the case of the Mediterranean holm oak (Quercus ilex, L.)

AuthorsOrtego, Joaquín ; Bonal, Raúl ; Muñoz, Alberto
KeywordsClonal structure
Heterozygosity
Fragmentation
Gene flow
Isolation by distance
Genetic diversity
Issue Date2010
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationJournal of Heredity 101(6): 717-726 (2010)
AbstractLarge-scale forest fragmentation can increase interpopulation genetic differentiation and erode the genetic variability of remnant plant populations. In this study, we analyze the extent of clonality and the genetic variability and structure within a holm oak (Quercus ilex) population from Central Spain at 3 patches showing different degrees of fragmentation. For this purpose, we have typed 191 individuals (105 adults and 86 saplings) at 9 microsatellite loci. Microsatellite markers revealed an extensive clonal structure in this species, with most analyzed clumps constituting a single >genet>, which in some cases extended over a considerable area (up to 318 m2). The maximum distance between >ramets> tended to be higher in the extremely fragmented patch, suggesting that intensive management and environmental perturbation has favored clonal propagation. We have also found evidence that fragmentation has contributed to reduce genetic variability and increase genetic differentiation in holm oak saplings, indicating that the younger cohorts are suffering some negative genetic consequences of long-term population fragmentation. Finally, analyses of fine spatial genetic structure have revealed significant kinship structures up to 20-50 m that were particularly patent in the 2 less fragmented patches. Overall, our findings point to long-term genetic shifts in population structure of holm oaks in fragmented landscapes; however, further research is required on pollen dispersal and gene flow in this species.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/144223
DOI10.1093/jhered/esq081
Identifiersdoi: 10.1093/jhered/esq081
issn: 0022-1503
e-issn: 1465-7333
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