Interannual genetic heterogeneity of pollen pools accepted by Quercus salicina individuals

Authors


Atsushi Nakanishi c/o Nobuhiro Tomaru, Fax: +81 52 789 5014; E-mail: tomaru@agr.nagoya-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Since flowering often varies among years in wind-pollinated woody species, the genetic composition of pollen pools accepted by seed parents can differ between years. The interannual heterogeneity of pollen flow may be important for maintaining genetic diversity within populations because it can increase genetic variation within populations and the effective sizes of the populations. In this study we examined heterogeneity, using paternity analysis and analysis of molecular variance, in the genetic composition of pollen pools among different reproductive years for six Quercus salicina seed parents in an 11.56-ha plot in a temperate old-growth evergreen broadleaved forest. The genotypes at seven microsatellite loci were determined for 111 adult trees and 777 offspring of the six seed parents in 2–5 reproductive years. Genetic differentiation of pollen pools among different reproductive years for each seed parent was significant over all seed parents and for each of four seed parents that were analysed for more than 2 years, but not for either of the other two seed parents (analysed for 2 years). For both the pollen pools originating from inside the plot and those originating from outside it, genetic differentiation among different reproductive years for each seed parent was significant over all seed parents. However, among-year genetic differentiation in the pollen pools originating from within the plot was detected for all four of the seed parents that were analysed for more than 2 years, but for only one of the four in the pools originating from outside the plot. Genetic diversity (estimated as allelic richness and gene diversity) was higher for pollen pools over all reproductive years than for pollen pools in single years. These results indicate that the year-to-year genetic variation of pollen pools increases genetic diversity in offspring and is strongly affected by the variation in pollen parents within the plot because of their high pollination contributions. The high year-to-year variation in pollen parents within the plot and overall supports the hypothesis that the offspring produced across years represent a larger genetic neighbourhood.

Ancillary