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Keywords:

  • bryophytes;
  • dispersal;
  • ecotype;
  • genetic structure;
  • isolation by distance;
  • Mantel test;
  • Platyhypnidium;
  • spatial analysis of molecular variance

Summary

  • Genetic diversity and structure are described in the aquatic moss Platyhypnidium riparioides to assess its dispersal ability at a regional scale and to determine whether patterns of genetic differentiation correlate with environmental variation.
  • Variation at six nuclear microsatellite loci from 50 populations in southern Belgium was investigated through Mantel tests, partial Mantel tests and spatial analysis of molecular variance.
  • Overall patterns of genotypic variation showed strong differentiation among populations at a regional scale (FST = 0.57). The high values of FIS observed within populations at both the ramet and genet levels, and the higher proportion of ramets with the same genotype than expected by chance, all point to a strongly clonal or selfing mating system. A genetic discontinuity was identified between northern and southern groups of populations. Within each group, FST and geographical distances were significantly correlated. Partial Mantel tests suggest that genetic and ecological distances are significantly correlated in the southern group.
  • The results point to strong dispersal limitation at the landscape scale and suggest that the southern and northern groups experienced different histories. Within the former, the correlation between genetic and ecological variation is suggestive of reproductive isolation among ecotypes.