Assessment of spatial discordance of primary and effective seed dispersal of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) by ecological and genetic methods

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Abstract

Spatial discordance between primary and effective dispersal in plant populations indicates that postdispersal processes erase the seed rain signal in recruitment patterns. Five different models were used to test the spatial concordance of the primary and effective dispersal patterns in a European beech (Fagus sylvatica) population from central Spain. An ecological method was based on classical inverse modelling (SSS), using the number of seed/seedlings as input data. Genetic models were based on direct kernel fitting of mother-to-offspring distances estimated by a parentage analysis or were spatially explicit models based on the genotype frequencies of offspring (competing sources model and Moran-Clark's Model). A fully integrated mixed model was based on inverse modelling, but used the number of genotypes as input data (gene shadow model). The potential sources of error and limitations of each seed dispersal estimation method are discussed. The mean dispersal distances for seeds and saplings estimated with these five methods were higher than those obtained by previous estimations for European beech forests. All the methods show strong discordance between primary and effective dispersal kernel parameters, and for dispersal directionality. While seed rain was released mostly under the canopy, saplings were established far from mother trees. This discordant pattern may be the result of the action of secondary dispersal by animals or density-dependent effects; that is, the Janzen-Connell effect.

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