Pollen flow in the wildservice tree, Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz. II. Pollen dispersal and heterogeneity in mating success inferred from parent–offspring analysis


S. Oddou-Muratorio, Present address: INRA– URFM. 20, Avenue Vivaldi F-84000 Avignon, France. Fax: +33-490 135 959; E-mail: oddou@avignon.inra.fr


Knowing the extent of gene movements from parents to offspring is essential to understand the potential of a species to adapt rapidly to a changing environment, and to design appropriate conservation strategies. In this study, we develop a nonlinear statistical model to jointly estimate the pollen dispersal kernel and the heterogeneity in fecundity among phenotypically or environmentally defined groups of males. This model uses genotype data from a sample of fruiting plants, a sample of seeds harvested on each of these plants, and all males within a circumscribed area. We apply this model to a scattered, entomophilous woody species, Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz, within a natural population covering more than 470 ha. We estimate a high heterogeneity in male fecundity among ecological groups, both due to phenotype (size of the trees and flowering intensity) and landscape factors (stand density within the neighbourhood). We also show that fat-tailed kernels are the most appropriate to depict the important abilities of long-distance pollen dispersal for this species. Finally, our results reveal that the spatial position of a male with respect to females affects as much its mating success as ecological determinants of male fecundity. Our study thus stresses the interest to account for the dispersal kernel when estimating heterogeneity in male fecundity, and reciprocally.