Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 298, Issue 1, pp 109–119 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of pioneer populations: the case of Nassauvia argentea (Asteraceae: Mutisieae) on Volcán Lonquimay, Chile

  • Emily C. Green
  • Karin TremetsbergerEmail author
  • Alejandra Jiménez
  • Susana Gómez-González
  • Tod F. Stuessy
  • Carlos M. Baeza
  • Patricio G. López
Original Article


Colonising populations do not always exhibit founder effects. Common explanations are high levels of immigration and/or reproduction, but few empirical tests have been done. We measured genetic diversity of Nassauvia argentea in terms of variation and divergence of plant populations that have colonised Volcán Lonquimay, Chile, following its latest eruption in 1988. Fifteen individuals from each of ten populations were analysed using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. Genetic variation and divergence were lower in colonising populations than established ones, but not significantly so (ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests, p < 0.05). No consistent or significant trends were obtained from regressions with demographic variables. Bayesian analysis of population structure reveals close relatedness among populations of all ages on the volcano. We concluded that no conspicuous founder effect has occurred in the genetic diversity of populations colonising a newly derived volcanic environment. An important implication of this is the role of proximity to source regions and species vigour in moulding genetic diversity of colonisers from different species.


AFLPs Colonisation Compositae Founder effect Volcanic disturbance 



The authors thank: the Departamento de Botánica, Universidad de Concepción, for work, space and consultation of herbarium material (CONC) in Chile; the Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) for permission to collect samples from Chilean National Parks; R. Hössinger and M. J. Parra for help with collecting; G. Kadlec for technical assistance; Dr. David Hulce at SoftGenetics for guidance on the appropriate use of GeneMarker for scoring of AFLPs and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on the manuscript. This project was funded by a grant from Fonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF grant P18446 to TFS). EG was supported by a UK Natural Environment Research Council Masters studentship via the University of York Biology Department.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 55.3 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 115 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 26.3 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily C. Green
    • 1
    • 8
  • Karin Tremetsberger
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alejandra Jiménez
    • 3
    • 4
  • Susana Gómez-González
    • 5
  • Tod F. Stuessy
    • 6
  • Carlos M. Baeza
    • 7
  • Patricio G. López
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.Department of Integrative Biology and Biodiversity Research, Institute of BotanyUniversity of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria
  3. 3.Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de Ecologia y Biodiversidad (IEB)Universidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.Laboratorio de Invasiones Biológicas, Departamento de Manejo de Bosques y Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Ciencias ForestalesUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  5. 5.Laboratorio de Genómica y Biodiversidad (LGB), Departamento de Ciencias Básicas, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad del Bío BíoChillánChile
  6. 6.Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Faculty Centre of BiodiversityUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  7. 7.Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y OceanográficasUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  8. 8.Department of Animal and Plant SciencesUniversity of Sheffield, Western BankSheffieldUK

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