Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 5:189 | Cite as

Congruence between environmental parameters, morphology and genetic structure in Australia’s most widely distributed eucalypt, Eucalyptus camaldulensis

  • P. A. Butcher
  • M. W. McDonald
  • J. C. Bell
Original Paper


Eucalyptus camaldulensis is one of the most widely utilised eucalypts. It is also the only eucalypt that occurs across the Australian continent, playing a key ecological role as fauna habitat and in riverbank stabilisation. Despite its ecological and economic importance, uncertainty remains regarding the delineation of genetic and morphological variants. Nine hundred and ninety trees from 97 populations, representing the species’ geographic range were genotyped using 15 microsatellite loci and patterns of diversity compared with restriction fragment length polymorphisms in 29 of these populations. Both markers showed that despite having a riverine distribution, downstream seed dispersal has had less influence than geographic distance on dispersal patterns. Spatial patterns in the distribution of microsatellite genotypes were compared with environmental parameters and boundaries defined by river systems, drainage basins and proposed subspecies. Significant genetic differences among populations within river systems indicated that rivers should not be treated as a single genetic entity in conservation or breeding programmes. Strong geographic trends were evident with 40% of variation in genetic diversity explained by latitude and moisture index. Isolation by distance and significant correlations between genetic distance and environmental parameters for most loci suggest historical factors have had more influence than selection on current patterns of distribution of genetic diversity. Geographic structuring of molecular variation, together with congruence between genetic and morphological variation indicate that E. camaldulensis should be treated as a number of subspecies rather than a single variable taxon. High levels of genetic diversity and geographic trends in the distribution of variation provide a firm basis for further exploration of the species’ genetic resources.


Eucalyptus camaldulensis Genetic structure Microsatellites RFLP Morphology 



Many thanks to Andrew Slee, John Connors (CSIRO Plant Industry), Craig Gardiner, Glen Kile, John Larmour, Paul Macdonell, Stephen Midgley, Jock Morse, Tim Vercoe, Sarah Whitfeld (CSIRO Forest Biosciences, Australian Tree Seed Centre), Ian Brooker and Dean Nicolle for collection of leaf samples and field data, Guiseppina Morosin for technical assistance and Henry Nix for useful discussions concerning biogeography. We thank Ian Brooker, Suzanne Prober, Washington Gapare and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on drafts of the manuscript. This research was funded by CSIRO.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Forest BiosciencesKingstonAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Forest BiosciencesWembleyAustralia

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