Population structure delineated with microsatellite markers in fragmented populations of a tropical tree, Carapa guianensis (Meliaceae)


R. Kesseli. Fax: +01-617-287-6650; E-mail:rick.kesseli@umb.edu


Deforestation and selective logging in the tropics may have serious consequences on genetic processes in tropical tree populations, affecting long-term survival of a given species as well as tropical forest communities. Because understanding the effects of human-induced changes on genetic processes is of utmost importance in formulating sound conservation and management plans for tropical forest communities, we developed microsatellite or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers for the tropical tree Carapa guianensis (Meliaceae) and assessed the polymorphism of SSRs in adult and sapling populations in a large contiguous forest and in selectively logged and fragmented forests. The number of alleles in polymorphic loci ranged between 4 and 28. No inbreeding was detected in saplings or adult cohorts, but the allelic richness was lower in the sapling cohort of the isolated fragment. Genetic distances, Nei’s D and (δµ)2, and RST values among saplings were greater than among adult cohorts, suggesting restriction of gene flow due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation. These SSR loci may be used to address many related questions regarding the population and conservation genetics of tropical trees.