Long-distance dispersal in a fire- and livestock-protected savanna
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 1003–1015, April 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(4): 1003–1015
- Issue published online: 11 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 19 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 9 OCT 2012
- Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo. Grant Number: 07/06648-1
- Instituto Florestal do Estado de São Paulo. Grant Number: 44.184/2006
- Laboratório de Reprodução e Genética de Espécies Arbóreas. Grant Number: 2006/04490-9
- National Council of Technological and Scientific Development
- Copaifera ;
- microsatellite loci;
- seed dispersal;
- pollen dispersal;
- parentage analysis;
- spatial genetic structure
Savannas are highly diverse and dynamic environments that can shift to forest formations due to protection policies. Long-distance dispersal may shape the genetic structure of these new closed forest formations. We analyzed eight microsatellite loci using a single-time approach to understand contemporary pollen and effective seed dispersal of the tropical tree, Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. (Fabaceae), occurring in a Brazilian fire- and livestock-protected savanna. We sampled all adult trees found within a 10.24 ha permanent plot, young trees within a subplot of 1.44 ha and open-pollinated seeds. We detected a very high level of genetic diversity among the three generations in the studied plot. Parentage analysis revealed high pollen immigration rate (0.64) and a mean contemporary pollen dispersal distance of 74 m. In addition, half-sib production was 1.8 times higher than full-sibs in significant higher distances, indicating foraging activity preference for different trees at long distances. There was a significant and negative correlation between diameter at breast height (DBH) of the pollen donor with the number of seeds (r = −0.640, P-value = 0.032), suggesting that pollen donor trees with a higher DBH produce less seeds. The mean distance of realized seed dispersal (recruitment kernel) was 135 m due to the large home range dispersers (birds and mammals) in the area. The small magnitude of spatial genetic structure found in young trees may be a consequence of overlapping seed shadows and increased tree density. Our results show the positive side of closed canopy expansion, where animal activities regarding pollination and seed dispersal are extremely high.