Spatial and population genetic structure of microsatellites in white pine


Paula Marquardt, Fax: +1 715 3621166; E-mail:


We evaluated the population genetic structure of seven microsatellite loci for old growth and second growth populations of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus). From each population, located within Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, Michigan, USA, 120–122 contiguous trees were sampled for genetic analysis. Within each population, genetic diversity was high and inbreeding low. When comparing these populations, there is a significant, but small (less than 1%), genetic divergence between populations. Spatial distance between populations or timber harvest at the second growth site were reasonable explanations for the observed minor differences in allele frequencies between populations. Spatial autocorrelation analysis suggested that, for the old growth population, weak positive structuring at 15 m fits the isolation by distance model for a neighbourhood size of about 100 individuals. In comparison, genotypes were randomly distributed in the second growth population. Thus, logging may have decreased spatial structuring at the second growth site, suggesting that management practices may be used to alter natural spatial patterns. In addition, the amount of autocorrelation in the old growth population appears to be lower for some of the microsatellites, suggesting higher numbers of rare alleles and that higher mutation rates may have directly affected spatial statistics by reducing structure.