Genetic diversity and differentiation follow secondary succession in a multi-species study on woody plants from subtropical China

Hahn, Christoph Z.; Michalski, Stefan G.; Fischer, Markus; Durka, Walter (2017). Genetic diversity and differentiation follow secondary succession in a multi-species study on woody plants from subtropical China. Journal of Plant Ecology, 10(1), pp. 213-221. Oxford University Press 10.1093/jpe/rtw054

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Aims: Species diversity and genetic diversity may be affected in parallel by similar environmental drivers. However, genetic diversity may also be affected independently by habitat characteristics. We aim at disentangling relationships between genetic diversity, species diversity and habitat characteristics of woody species in subtropical forest. Methods: We studied 11 dominant tree and shrub species in 27 plots in Gutianshan, China, and assessed their genetic diversity (Ar) and population differentiation (F’ST) with microsatellite markers. We tested if Ar and population specific F’ST were correlated to local species diversity and plot characteristics. Multi-model inference and model averaging were used to determine the relative importance of each predictor. Additionally we tested for isolation-by-distance and isolation-by-elevation by regressing pairwise F’ST against pairwise spatial and elevational distances. Important findings: Genetic diversity was not related to species diversity for any of the study species. Thus, our results do not support joint effects of habitat characteristics on these two levels of biodiversity. Instead, genetic diversity in two understory shrubs, Rhododendron simsii and Vaccinium carlesii, was affected by plot age with decreasing genetic diversity in successionally older plots. Population differentiation increased with plot age in Rhododendron simsii and Lithocarpus glaber. This shows that succession can reduce genetic diversity within, and increase genetic diversity between populations. Furthermore, we found four cases of isolation-by-distance and two cases of isolation-by-elevation. The former indicates inefficient pollen and seed dispersal by animals whereas the latter might be due to phenological asynchronies. These patterns indicate that succession can affect genetic diversity without parallel effects on species diversity and that gene flow in a continuous subtropical forest can be restricted even at a local scale.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Markus

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1752-9921

Publisher:

Oxford University Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

02 Jun 2016 11:37

Last Modified:

18 May 2017 08:36

Publisher DOI:

10.1093/jpe/rtw054

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Allelic richness, population differentiation, habitat characteristics, gene flow, species-genetic diversity correlation, SGDC

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.83473

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/83473

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