Plant Ecology

, Volume 216, Issue 7, pp 925–937 | Cite as

Genetic diversity and drivers of genetic differentiation of Reaumuria soongorica of the Inner Mongolia plateau in China

  • Jiuyan Yang
  • Samuel A. CushmanEmail author
  • Xuemei Song
  • Jie Yang
  • Pujin Zhang


We quantified genetic diversity and gene flow among eight populations of Reaumuria soongorica in Inner Mongolia, China. Our results showed that genetic differentiation of R. soongorica across the Inner Mongolian plateau is primarily clinal in nature and is driven primarily by differential landscape resistance across areas with changing patterns of seasonal precipitation, perhaps as a result of differential timing of reproductive phenology along precipitation gradients. Finding that seasonal patterns of precipitation, and not temperature, drive population connectivity and gene flow may have important implications for predicting the effects of climate change on this keystone foundation species and devising effective strategies to utilize it in restoration efforts to ameliorate ongoing desertification in the region. Genetic diversity was highest in the western part of the sampled population, perhaps indicating that this region has historically harbored the highest effective population size of the species or may have served as the source of recent range expansion to other parts of the sampled range which exhibited lower genetic diversity. Understanding the ecological drivers of these relationships might be critical to resolving the causes of the geographical pattern of diversity, and could be important in understanding the ecology of the species sufficiently to anticipate climate change effects and effectively implement management strategies to restore the species and combat desertification.


Reaumuria soongorica Reciprocal causal modeling Landscape genetics Climate STRUCTURE analysis 



This work was supported by The State Key Basic Research Development Programme of China (Grant No. 2012CB722201),science and technology research projects of Inner Mongolia Education Department of China (NJ10002), The Natural Science Foundation of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China (2014MS0350), and US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Supplementary material

11258_2015_479_MOESM1_ESM.doc (358 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 357 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiuyan Yang
    • 1
  • Samuel A. Cushman
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xuemei Song
    • 1
  • Jie Yang
    • 1
  • Pujin Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesInner Mongolia UniversityHohhotChina
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service/Rocky Mountain Research StationMissoulaUSA
  3. 3.Inner Mongolia Prataculture Research CenterChinese Academy of Science/Inner Mongolia Academy of Agricultural and Animal Husbandry SciencesHohhotChina

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