Landscape-level spatial genetic structure in Quercus acutissima (Fagaceae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2002
Authors:M. Y. Chung, Nason, J., Chung, M. G., Kim, K. - J., Park, C. - W., Sun, B. - Y., Pak, J. - H.
Journal:American Journal of Botany
Date Published:2002

Quercus acutissima (Fagaceae), a deciduous broad-leaved tree, is an important forest element in hillsides of South Korea. We used allozyme loci, Wright’s F statistics, and multilocus spatial autocorrelation statistics to examine the distribution of genetic diversity within and among three local populations and the spatial genetic structure at a landscape scale (15 ha, 250 x 600 m) on Oenaro Island, South Korea. Levels of genetic diversity in Q. acutissima populations were comparable to mean values for other oak species. A moderate but significant deficit of heterozygotes (mean FIS = 0.069) was detected within local populations and low but significant differentiation was observed among populations (FST = 0.010). Spatial autocorrelation analyses revealed little evidence of significant genetic structure at spatial scales of 100-120 m. The failure to detect genetic structure within populations may be due to intraspecific competition or random mortality among saplings, resulting in extensive thinning within maternal half-sib groups. Alternatively, low genetic differentiation at the landscape scale indicates substantial gene flow among local populations. Although wind-borne pollen may be the primary source of gene flow in Q. acutissima, these results suggest that acorn movement by animals may be more extensive than previously anticipated. Comparison of these genetic data for Oenaro Island with a disturbed isolated inland population suggests that population-to-population differences in internal genetic structure may be influenced by local variation in regeneration environment (e.g., disturbance).

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