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Journal Articles Evolutionary Ecology Year : 2004

Variations in levels of clonality among Populus nigra L. stands of different ages


The evolution of genotypic diversity with population age remains poorly explored in clonal plant populations despite the potential for important shifts to occur through the course of time. Woody sprouting species are particularly under-represented in studies investigating intraspecific variations in levels of clonality from one locality to the next and through time. In this study we sought to determine the incidence and frequency of replicate genotypes in natural Populus nigra L. (Salicaceae) stands of different ages. Ten stands of this woody riparian sprouting species were selected in each of three distinct age groups (‘young’, ‘middle-aged’ and ‘old’) along a 30 km stretch of the River Garonne (south-west France). Leaf samples were collected from 15 neighbouring trees in each stand (450 samples in total) and replicate genotypes were identified using five SSR markers. Replicate genotypes were identified in two-thirds of all stands sampled (i.e. 50% of young stands,100% of middle-aged stands and 50% of old stands). Young stands had significantly fewer replicated genotypes than middle-aged or old stands, while middle-aged stands had the greatest number of replicated genotypes. Replicate genotypes were most often found to occur as nearest neighbours and formed relatively small, discrete units (i.e. 2–4 trees growing in close proximity to one another).This suggests that asexual regeneration frequently occurs through flood-training in this species, although asexual regeneration from translocated fragments also evidently occurs as evidenced by 11 cases of replicate genotypes occurring in widely separated stands (up to 19 km apart). The results of this study highlight the need for a hierarchical sampling strategy in space and across age groups for an accureate understanding of the genotypic structure of woody sprouting species populations. Conservation and management of effective population sizes will benefit from better insight into not only spatial, but also temporal variations in levels of genotypic diversity.
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hal-01520598 , version 1 (10-05-2017)



Nadia Barsoum, Etienne Muller, Leif Skot. Variations in levels of clonality among Populus nigra L. stands of different ages. Evolutionary Ecology, 2004, vol. 18 (n° 5), pp. 601-624. ⟨10.1007/s10682-004-5146-4⟩. ⟨hal-01520598⟩
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