Population genetic structure of the tropical moss Acanthorrhynchium papillatum as measured with microsatellite markers


  • Editor
    O. Loudet

P. P. Kumar, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 10 Science Drive 4, 117543 Singapore City, Singapore.
E-mail: dbskumar@nus.edu.sg


Mosses and other bryophytes are vital components of forests, because they sustain a tremendous diversity of invertebrates and influence significant ecological functions. There have been few studies on moss population diversity in Southeast Asia, despite the escalating deforestation in this region of rich biodiversity. The genetic diversity of the tropical moss Acanthorrhynchium papillatum (Harv.) Fleisch., collected from forested areas in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia, was elucidated using eight microsatellite markers developed for this species. Significant levels of allelic and haplotypic diversity were observed among clumps of the moss. Differences in allelic richness and genotypic diversity among the populations were higher in less disturbed forests compared to the more disturbed areas, suggesting that genetic diversity is affected by habitat quality. Genetic diversity levels within the clumps studied were low, indicating that vegetative reproduction was more important within clumps than sexual reproduction. However, multilocus genotypes of samples within the clumps studied were not all alike, providing evidence of microsatellite mutation or of occasional sexuality. Despite the isolation of populations, A. papillatum can introduce genetic variability by mutation among vegetatively propagated individuals. This study provides baseline information on the genetic diversity of A. papillatum tropical rain forests.