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Indigenous forests of European black poplar along the Danube River: genetic structure and reliable detection of introgression

Abstract

The European black poplar (Populus nigra L.) is a tree species that once had the central role in the development of riparian ecosystems in a great part of Europe and Asia. During centuries, it is harassed by the riverside’s urbanization, drainage of wetlands, and controlled river management, and compromised by intercrossing with other poplar species and cultivated hybrids. With the aim to perceive its genetic diversity and integrity along the Danube River, 12 natural P. nigra forests from corresponding protected areas were assessed using eight highly polymorphic microsatellite loci and win3 genetic marker. In the sample set, among individuals morphologically recognized as P. nigra, 2.28 % were identified as P. × euramericana hybrids and those were excluded from further analyses. High number of alleles and high heterozigosity have been observed in all populations. Only 2.95 % of total genetic variance was recorded among populations, while the pattern of genetic differentiation corresponds to the isolation by geographic distance. It was found that one population had experienced a recent reduction in population size. We infer that genetic integrity and variation of European black poplar is not compromised within the studied areas which are, therefore, able to provide high-quality genetic material of non-hybrid P. nigra for maintaining and promoting metapopulations along the Danube River.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme “DANUBEPARKS STEP 2.0”–“Anchoring the Danube River Network of Protected Areas as Platform for Preservation of Danube Natural Heritage” and by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (grants No. 173024 and No. 173012). The authors would like to thank all the contributors: Zoran Tomović, Dijana Čortan, and Radmila Šakić Peurača (Public Enterprise “Vojvodinašume”); Tsonka Hristova and Milko Belberov (on behalf of the Directorate of Nature Park “RusenskiLom”); Dr. Barbara Stammel, Daniel Neumaier, Eva Habichler, Jonas Liegl, Hubert Krenzler, and Thomas Schneider (on behalf of the administrative district of Neuburg-Schrobenhausen and City of Ingolstadt); Darko Krsmanović, Levente Čapo, Robert Šafthauzen, Predrag Stanković, Rade Čortan, and Đuro Ratković (on behalf of forest estate “Sombor”); Valerija Hima, Dražen Ivaštinović, Dejan Sablić, Denis Stojsavljević, and Ivan Grubišić (on behalf of nature park “LonjskoPolje”); Dr. Istvan Bach, Peter Proksza, and Attila Szokolai (on behalf of NP Duna-Ipoly); Dr. Yancho Stoyanov Naydenov, Nikolay Yanchev Stoyanov, Hristofor Ivanov Georgiev, Stanimira Valentinova Shuleva, and Svetoslava Zarkova Stoyanova (on behalf of Persina Nature Park); Sandor Kovesi, Attila Morocz, Imre Dombi, Attila Kovacs, and Zoltan Huber (on behalf of Duna-Drava National Park); Pavol Surovec, Tomaš Kušik, Matuš Kudela, Martina Maczalova, and Lucia Senkova (on behalf of Bratislavské regionálne ochranárske združenie); Dragomir Pfeifer, Zoran Šarac, Darko Cvijić, Vlatko Rožac, and Davor Mikulić (on behalf of JUPP Kopački Rit); Karoline Zsak, Ronald Hillerbrand, and Marina Gvozdenovic (on behalf of NP Donau-Auen); and Dr. Attila Borovics, Roland Takacs, Valter Toldi, and Arpadne Tolgyesi (on behalf of NP Fertő-Hanság). We are also grateful to Tanja Adnađević for professional advice.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Data for this study are available at: figshare.com/s/b11daaaa369b11e594f206ec4b8d1f61.

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Correspondence to Mihailo Jelić.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Hybridization

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Jelić, M., Patenković, A., Skorić, M. et al. Indigenous forests of European black poplar along the Danube River: genetic structure and reliable detection of introgression. Tree Genetics & Genomes 11, 89 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11295-015-0915-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11295-015-0915-5

Keywords

  • European black poplar
  • Populus nigra
  • Danube
  • Population structure
  • Introgression
  • Diagnostic markers
  • Microsatellites