Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 253–263 | Cite as

Homogeneous genetic structure and variation in tree architecture of Larix kaempferi along altitudinal gradients on Mt. Fuji

Regular Paper


Variations in tree architecture and in the genetic structure of Larix kaempferi on Mt. Fuji were surveyed along altitudinal gradients using 11 nSSR loci. In total, 249 individuals from six populations along three trails at altitudes ranging from approximately 1,300 to 2,700 m were investigated. Gradual changes in tree architecture with increasing elevation, from erect trees to flag trees and krummholz mats, were observed in the high-altitude populations (>2,000 m) on all trails. These findings suggest that tree architecture is correlated with the severe environmental conditions associated with increasing elevation, such as strong winds. In contrast to obvious variations in tree architecture, the genetic diversity of populations along the trails was almost uniform (H E = 0.717–0.762) across the altitudinal range. The results of the AMOVA and STRUCTURE analyses, and the analysis for isolation by distance pattern, suggest homogeneous genetic structuring across all populations on Mt. Fuji, while the pairwise F ST showed barriers to gene flow between altitudinal populations that were demarcated as high- or low-altitude populations by Abies-Tsuga forest. Although the evergreen coniferous forests on the mountainside may hinder gene flow, this may be explained by the long-distance seed dispersal of the Japanese larch and/or a short population history resulting from eruptions or slush avalanches, although evergreen coniferous forests on the mountainside may hinder gene flow.


Gene flow Genetic diversity Japanese larch Larix kaempferii Mt. Fuji 



We are grateful to H. Ikeda, Y. Mitsui, K. Sugahara, H. Higashi, T. Otsuki, and Y. Umetsu of Kyoto University for providing advice and assistance. We also thank the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, the prefectural governments of Yamanashi and Shizuoka, and the forestry management associations of Narusawamura and Fujiyoshida for providing research permission. This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (no. 19570085).

Supplementary material

10265_2010_370_MOESM1_ESM.doc (90 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 1. Genetic variation among populations, trails, altitudinal groups and phenotypic groups (DOC 90 kb)
10265_2010_370_MOESM2_ESM.doc (255 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 2. Correlation between genetic distance (individuals) and natural logarithm of horizontal distance and vertical distance on Mt. Fuji and each trail (Shoji trail, Yoshida trail, Subashiri trail). Genetic distance between individuals was calculated based on Nei et al. (1983) (DOC 255 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 3. Distribution of likelihood values Ln(K) from STRUCTURE analysis. All estimated values from 10 replicates in each K were plotted in Ln(K) (TIFF 4737 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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