Free access
Ann. For. Sci.
Volume 64, Number 4, June-July 2007
Page(s) 405 - 412
Published online 24 May 2007
Ann. For. Sci. 64 (2007) 405-412
DOI: 10.1051/forest:2007017

Steep slopes promote downhill dispersal of Quercus crispula seeds and weaken the fine-scale genetic structure of seedling populations

Takafumi Ohsawaa, Yoshiaki Tsudaa, b, Yoko Saitoa, Haruo Sawadac, d and Yuji Idea

a  Department of Ecosystem Studies, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan
b  Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Matsunosato 1, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan
c  University Forest in Chichibu, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Hinoda 1-1-49, Chichibu-shi, Saitama 368-0034, Japan
d  University Forest in Aichi, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Goizuka 11-44, Seto-shi, Aichi 489-0031, Japan

(Received 26 June 2006; accepted 19 January 2007; published online 24 May 2007)

Abstract - The seed dispersal patterns and genetic structure of plant populations in mountainous forests may differ from those on flat sites, because some seeds that fall from adults are likely to roll downhill, and thus cause the seed shadows from different mother trees to merge. In the study reported here we used six polymorphic microsatellite markers to track seed dispersal and examine the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of adults and first-year seedlings of Quercus crispula in 2500 m2 plots on four slopes. In each of the four plots, leaves of adults, seedlings and endocarps of hypogeal cotyledons attached to the seedlings were genotyped to identify the seedlings' mother trees. The results showed that steeper slopes result in larger dispersions and smaller genetic structure of seedlings. These findings are a crucial step towards an understanding of the effect of topography on tree regeneration.

Résumé - Influence des pentes fortes sur la dispersion et la structure génétique des populations de Quercus crispula. Les modes de dispersion des graines et la structure génétique des populations d'arbres peuvent être différents en forêts de montagne par rapport à ceux en forêts de plaine. En effet, les graines qui tombent des arbres adultes roulent probablement vers le bas de la pente entraînant un regroupement des descendances de différentes mères. Dans cette étude, nous avons suivi la dispersion des graines de Quercus crispula et nous avons examiné à l'aide de six marqueurs microsatellites polymorphiques la structure spatiale génétique des arbres adultes et de leurs descendants (semis de 1 an) sur des placeaux de 2500 m2 dans quatre pentes. Dans chacun des placeaux, les feuilles des arbres adultes et des semis ainsi que les endocarpes des cotylédons attachés aux semis ont été génotypés de manière à identifier les mères des semis. Les résultats montrent que les pentes fortes contribuent à une forte dispersion et à une faible structuration génétique des semis. Ces résultats sont une étape importante pour la compréhension des effets de la topographie sur la régénération des arbres.

Key words: genetic structure / microsatellite marker / Quercus crispula / seed dispersal / slope

Mots clés : structure génétique / marqueur microsatellite / Quercus crispula / dispersion des graines / pente

Corresponding author:

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007

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