Spatial and demographic population genetic structure in Catasetum viridiflavum across a human-disturbed habitat


Correspondence (present address):  Courtney J. Murren, H.J. Patterson Hall, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
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Abstract Spatial and temporal genetic structures were examined across sites on islands and mainland (continuous forest) populations of an epiphytic orchid, Catasetum viridiflavum, using 17 polymorphic allozyme loci. I tested whether patches on islands or at mainland sites comprised small local populations or a large population. Low among population differentiation was observed across the landscape suggesting that the species-specific pollinator and tiny wind-dispersed seeds maintain interconnections among distant patches. Temporal genetic structure among stage classes, and among breeding individuals are important components of the maintenance of genetic variation in this orchid. The natural history of this species including small breeding populations, probable high frequency of mating among relatives, and the high rates of seed movement among sites contribute to the high FIS. These data show that physically isolated patches in this epiphytic orchid comprise a single larger genetic population, which is independent of the physical distances among sites. Although quite different in ecological and life history characteristics, the genetic structure of this orchid demonstrates a pattern similar to temperate and tropical trees in fragmented landscapes.