Impacts of gene flow and logging history on the local genetic structure of a scattered tree species, Sorbus torminalis L. Crantz


Sylvie Oddou-Muratorio. Present address: INRA — URFM. 20, Avenue Vivaldi F-84000 Avignon France. Fax: + 33 490135 959: E-mail:


Sorbus torminalis L. Crantz is a colonizing tree species usually found at low density in managed European forests. Using six microsatellite markers, we investigated spatial and temporal patterns of genetic structure within a 472-ha population of 185 individuals to infer processes shaping the distribution of genetic diversity. Only eight young stems were found to be the result of vegetative reproduction. Despite high levels of gene flow (standard deviation of gene dispersal = 360 m), marked patterns of isolation by distance were detected, associated with an aggregated distribution of individuals in ∼100-m patches. This spatial structure of both genes and individuals is likely to result from patterns of seedling recruitment combined with low tree density. Our results suggest that landscape factors and logging cycles markedly shape the distribution of favourable sites for seedling establishment, which are then colonized by sibling cohorts as a result of joint seed transportation by frugivores. These combined genetic and demographic processes result in similar genetic structure both within and among logging units. However, conversion to high forest may enhance genetic structuring.