Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 27–34 | Cite as

Variation and selection in western montane species II. Variation within and between populations of white firon an elevational transect

  • J. L. Hamrick


Four populations of Abies concolor, white fir, were sampled along an elevational transect in the central Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This paper is based on data taken during the first two years' growth in a nearby nursery at Placerville, California. Ten of the thirteen growth, size, and needle morphological characteristics had significant differences between population samples, while eleven characteristics had significant differences between open-pollinated families within the population samples. High-elevation population samples were smaller in size and needle measurements, had fewer adaxial stomatal rows, blunter needle tips, and a shorter growing season. Most characteristic values were distributed ecotypically between the two lower- and the two higher-elevation population samples. Analyses of the patterns of variation demonstrated that characteristics of size and growth showed greater differentiation between population samples than did characteristics of needle morphology. It was concluded that the differences between characteristic patterns were caused by the more intense selection pressures acting upon the characteristics of size and growth. No consistent differences were discovered between these population samples in terms of total amounts of within-population genetic variation. The failure to find differences in intra-population variation may be due to the high rates of migration that probably exist within such a transect, and the fact that none of the populations included in this study are truly marginal. There were large differences between characteristics for total within-population variation; a positive but non-significant correlation was found between high coefficients of variation and those characteristics with much differentiation between populations. It is postulated that the maintenance of this intra-population variation was caused by microhabitat adaptations and gene flow. Evidence for increased genetic variation within open-pollinated families due to pollen immigration is presented, and its implications discussed.


Population Sample Sierra Nevada Mountain Blunt Needle Elevational Transect Firon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. L. Hamrick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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