Niche modelling and landscape genetics of Caryocar brasiliense (“Pequi” tree: Caryocaraceae) in Brazilian Cerrado: an integrative approach for evaluating central–peripheral population patterns
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- Diniz-Filho, J.A.F., Nabout, J.C., Bini, L.M. et al. Tree Genetics & Genomes (2009) 5: 617. doi:10.1007/s11295-009-0214-0
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Complex and integrative approaches may be necessary to understand the abundant-centre model and the patterns in genetic diversity that may be explained by this model. Here we developed an integrated framework to study spatial patterns in genetic diversity within local populations, coupling genetic data, niche modelling and landscape genetics, and applied this framework to evaluate population structure of Caryocar brasiliense, an endemic tree from the Brazilian Cerrado. We showed different geographical patterns for genetic diversity, allelic richness and inbreeding levels, estimated using microsatellite data for ten local populations. Ecological suitability was estimating by combining five niche modelling techniques. Genetic diversity tend to follow a central-periphery model and is associated with ecological variables. On the other hand, inbreeding levels may be alternatively explained by isolation processes and habitat fragmentation more related to intense recent human occupation in the southern border of the biome, or by deeper historical patterns in the origin of the populations. Although still suffering from some of the problems of central-periphery analysis (small number of local populations), our analyses show how these patterns can be better investigated and offering a better understanding of the processes structuring genetic diversity within species’ geographic ranges.