Leptokurtic pollen-flow, non-leptokurtic gene-flow in a wind-pollinated herb, Plantago lanceolata L.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to simultaneously measure pollen dispersal distance and actual pollen-mediated gene-flow distance in a wind-pollinated herb, Plantago lanceolata. The pollen dispersal distribution, measured as pollen deposition in a wind tunnel, is leptokurtic, as expected from previous studies of wind-pollinated plants. Gene-flow, measured as seeds produced on rows of male-sterile inflorescences in the wind tunnel, is non-leptokurtic, peaking at an intermediate distance. The difference between the two distributions results from the tendency of the pollen grains to cluster. These pollen clusters are the units of gene dispersal, with clusters of intermediate and large size contributing disproportionately to gene-flow. Since many wind-pollinated species show pollen clustering (see text), the common assumption for wind-pollinated plants that gene-flow is leptokurtic requires re-examination. Gene-flow was also measured in an artifical outdoor population of male-steriles, containing a single pollen source plant in the center of the array. The gene flow distribution is significantly platykurtic, and has the same general properties outdoors, where wind speed and turbulence are uncontrolled, as it does in the wind tunnel. I estimated genetic neighborhood size based on my measure of gene-flow in the outdoor population. The estimate shows that populations of Plantago lanceolata will vary in effective number from a few tens of plants to more than five hundred plants, depending on the density of the population in question. Thus, the measured pollen-mediated gene-flow distribution and population density will interact to produce effective population sizes ranging from those in which there is no random genetic drift to those in which random genetic drift plays an important role in determining gene frequencies within and among populations. Despite the platykurtosis in the distribution, pollen-mediated gene dispersal distances are still quite limited, and considerable within and among-population genetic differentiation is to be expected in this species.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00384953

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Cite this paper

@article{Tonsor1985LeptokurticPN, title={Leptokurtic pollen-flow, non-leptokurtic gene-flow in a wind-pollinated herb, Plantago lanceolata L.}, author={Stephen J. Tonsor}, journal={Oecologia}, year={1985}, volume={67}, pages={442-446} }