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Genetic differentiation between sun and shade habitats in populations of Lindera benzoin L.

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Population Ecology

Abstract

Differences in selection patterns among habitats can alter the distribution of genetic diversity even when this is estimated with neutral markers. For plants, light is an essential resource that can influence both abiotic and biotic components of habitat. We examined genetic differentiation between sun and shade habitats in Lindera benzoin L. (Spicebush), a perennial understory shrub. Genetic diversity of 127 plants from sun and shade habitats in two populations of L. benzoin was determined using 12 polymorphic microsatellite markers. We analyzed patterns of genetic diversity using analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), and we assessed correlation between genetic and geographic distance using Mantel tests. We found (1) low levels of differentiation among populations (F ST = 0.028), (2) little evidence of genetic structure within populations due to isolation-by-distance, and (3) some evidence of habitat-based genetic differentiation. Specifically, the AMOVA showed a small (0.5%) but significant portion of overall variation could be explained by differences between habitats. The overall low levels of differentiation we saw were likely a result of extensive gene flow in this dioecious, bird-dispersed species.

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Acknowledgments

We thank our colleagues C. Ingersoll and G. Benjamin for their help with the experiment. We also thank G. Kolber M. Sones, E. Honan, and E. Tiedeken for their help with data collection. This material is based upon work performed at Muhlenberg College supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0442049 to R. A. Niesenbaum.

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Correspondence to Emily Mooney.

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Mooney, E., Edwards, M. & Niesenbaum, R. Genetic differentiation between sun and shade habitats in populations of Lindera benzoin L.. Popul Ecol 52, 417–425 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10144-010-0197-6

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