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Low genetic divergence and variation in coastal dune populations of the widespread terrestrial orchid Epipactis helleborine
Jacquemyn, H.; De Kort, H.; Vanden Broeck, A.; Brys, R. (2020). Low genetic divergence and variation in coastal dune populations of the widespread terrestrial orchid Epipactis helleborine. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 193(3): 419-430. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/botlinnean/boaa020
In: Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. Wiley-Blackwell: London,New York. ISSN 0024-4074; e-ISSN 1095-8339, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Trefwoorden
    Epipactis helleborine
    Marien/Kust
Author keywords
    ecological speciation; genetic diversity; population viability

Auteurs  Top 

Abstract
    Reconstructing the early history of species divergence and quantifying the level of standing genetic variation in diverging populations are central to our understanding of ecotype formation and ultimately speciation. In this study, we used single nucleotide polymorphisms to reconstruct the evolutionary history of species divergence in coastal dune populations of the widespread terrestrial orchid Epipactis helleborine and to investigate the level of standing genetic variation in 29 coastal dune populations in a fragmented dune landscape along the Belgian and French coast. Additionally, we used seed introduction experiments to assess the potential for gene flow into existing populations after long-distance seed dispersal and the ability to colonize vacant sites. Our results showed that coastal dune populations diverged only recently from inland populations, went through a significant bottleneck and were most probably the result of a single colonization event. Current levels of population genetic diversity are low and not related to population size or spatial isolation. The sampled dune populations also showed little genetic differentiation, and no apparent spatial genetic structure was observed. Seed introduction experiments showed that seeds of coastal dune populations germinated easily in both occupied and unoccupied sites in dune habitat, indicating that the availability of suitable mycorrhizal fungi is not limiting the distribution of coastal dune populations and that gene flow through seeds has probably contributed to the observed low levels of genetic differentiation. Overall, these results are consistent with a process of genetic divergence after a single, recent colonization event, followed by extensive gene flow among populations.

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