Clonal diversity and spatial genetic structure of Potamogeton pectinatus in managed pond and river populations
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- Triest, L. & Fénart, S. Hydrobiologia (2014) 737: 145. doi:10.1007/s10750-013-1583-9
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Higher levels of genetic diversity of river macrophytes are expected in downstream parts because of potential accumulation of various genotypes from upstream sites. We assessed the clonal diversity and spatial genetic structure of fennel pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus or Stuckenia pectinata) populations with emphasis on the estimation of dispersal via clonal propagules along a river in connection to upstream ponds. We analysed genetic diversity of 354 plant shoots sampled in 2005 and 2006 at three pond and five river sites in the Woluwe river catchment (Belgium). Nine microsatellite DNA markers revealed 88 genets of which 89% occurred in only one site. Clonal propagule dispersal was detected up to 10 km along the river. Few multilocus genotypes were repeatedly present along a major part of the river indicating vegetative spread. Populations of ponds contained a higher amount of clonal diversity, indicating the importance of local seed recruitment. A fine-scaled spatial genetic structure indicated that most seedling recruitment occurred at a distance <5 m in pond populations whereas clones in river sites were unrelated and showed no spatial autocorrelation. The clonal diversity decreased along the river from upstream to downstream due to establishment of few large clones.