Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 264, Issue 1, pp 15–30

Genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure of Pinus strobus (Pinaceae) across an island landscape inferred from allozyme and cpDNA markers


    • Department of ForestryMichigan State University
    • Department of Life ScienceSouth Suburban College
  • M. Y. Chung
    • Department of BiologyGyeongsang National University
  • M. G. Chung
    • Department of BiologyGyeongsang National University

DOI: 10.1007/s00606-006-0498-6

Cite this article as:
Myers, E.R., Chung, M.Y. & Chung, M.G. Plant Syst. Evol. (2007) 264: 15. doi:10.1007/s00606-006-0498-6


The Beaver Island Archipelago (BIA) provides a model system to address the impact of long-term isolation on genetic diversity and gene flow. Low lake levels are assumed to have caused the BIA to be attached to mainland Michigan for at least 4000 years (10000 yr B.P.- 6000 yr B.P.), eventually, rising lake levels would have kept the islands isolated since 6000 yr B.P. If the island populations of a plant species in the BIA were indeed once continuous with the mainland of Michigan, then we would expect similar levels of genetic diversity in populations of such a species on the islands vs. the mainland. We compared levels of allozyme genetic diversity of 20 plots of Pinus strobus in the BIA with two mainland populations in northern Michigan. In addition, if pollen is a primary agent of gene flow across islands, a low degree of allozyme differentiation among the island populations of P. strobus in the BIA would be evident. Furthermore, since seed dispersal is more limited than pollen dispersal in P. strobus, a more pronounced spatial genetic structure (SGS) is expected in allozymes than in cpDNA markers. To gain insights on the pattern of seed and pollen dispersal among the 20 plots, we further analyzed spatial autocorrelation using Moran's I-statistics for both data sets [biparentally inherited, allozymes and paternally inherited, cpDNA microsatellites (cpDNA SSR)]. We found a similar level of allozyme variability in both the BIA (mean He = 0.080) and the two mainland populations (mean He = 0.078). As predicted, we observed a low but significant degree of genetic divergence among populations for allozymes (mean FST = 0.033 across 20 plots). Our allozyme-based SGS analysis revealed significant evidence of SGS (i.e. isolation-by-distance; slope β = −0.194 from regression analysis of observed averaged Moran's I values against the logarithm of the upper bound of six distance classes). In contrast, little evidence of SGS was found in cpDNA SSR data across the BIA (β = 0.013). These results suggest that although gene flow via seed dispersal is somewhat limited, pollen flow has been sufficient to maintain genetic diversity and prevent differentiation across the island landscape over several thousand years of isolation.


Allozymeseastern white pinegenetic diversitycpDNA microsatellitesisolationMoran's I-statisticPinus strobusspatial genetic structure

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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2007