Estimating exotic gene flow into native pine stands: zygotic vs. gametic components. uri icon

abstract

  • Monitoring contemporary gene flow from widespread exotic plantations is becoming an important problem in forest conservation genetics. In plants, where both seed and pollen disperse, three components of exotic gene flow with potentially unequal consequences should be, but have not been, explicitly distinguished: zygotic, male gametic and female gametic. Building on a previous model for estimating contemporary rates of zygotic and male gametic gene flow among plant populations, we present here an approach that additionally estimates the third (female gametic) gene flow component, based on a combination of uni- and biparentally inherited markers. Using this method and a combined set of chloroplast and nuclear microsatellites, we estimate gene flow rates from exotic plantations into two Iberian relict stands of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Results show neither zygotic nor female gametic gene flow but moderate (6-8%) male gametic introgression for both species, implying significant dispersal of pollen, but not of seeds, from exotic plantations into native stands shortly after introduced trees reached reproductive maturity. Numerical simulation results suggest that the model yields reasonably accurate estimates for our empirical data sets, especially for larger samples. We discuss conservation management implications of observed levels of exposure to nonlocal genes and identify research needs to determine potentially associated hazards. Our approach should be useful for plant ecologists and ecosystem managers interested in the vectors of contemporary genetic connectivity among discrete plant populations.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014