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Differential role of a persistent seed bank for genetic variation in early vs. late successional stages
Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany.
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Germany; German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany..
Masaryk University, Czech Republic; The Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic..
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6953-3855
2018 (English)In: PLoS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 12, article id e0209840Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Persistent seed banks are predicted to have an important impact on population genetic processes by increasing effective population size and storing past genetic diversity. Accordingly, persistent seed banks may buffer genetic effects of disturbance, fragmentation and/or selection. However, empirical studies surveying the relationship between aboveground and seed bank genetics under changing environments are scarce. Here, we compared genetic variation of aboveground and seed bank cohorts in 15 populations of the partially cleistogamous Viola elatior in two contrasting early and late successional habitats characterized by strong differences in light-availability and declining population size. Using AFLP markers, we found significantly higher aboveground than seed bank genetic diversity in early successional meadow but not in late successional woodland habitats. Moreover, individually, three of eight woodland populations even showed higher seed bank than aboveground diversity. Genetic differentiation among populations was very strong ((ST) = 0.8), but overall no significant differentiation could be detected between above ground and seed bank cohorts. Small scale spatial genetic structure was generally pronounced but was much stronger in meadow (Sp-statistic: aboveground: 0.60, seed bank: 0.32) than in woodland habitats (aboveground: 0.11; seed bank: 0.03). Our findings indicate that relative seed bank diversity (i.e. compared to aboveground diversity) increases with ongoing succession and despite decreasing population size. As corroborated by markedly lower small-scale genetic structure in late successional habitats, we suggest that the observed changes in relative seed bank diversity are driven by an increase of outcrossing rates. Persistent seed banks in Viola elatior hence will counteract effects of drift and selection, and assure a higher chance for the species' long term persistence, particularly maintaining genetic variation in declining populations of late successional habitats and thus enhancing success rates of population recovery after disturbance events.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
San Francisco: Public library science , 2018. Vol. 13, no 12, article id e0209840
Keywords [en]
Viola-Elatior; Counting Alleles; Populations, Diversity, Plant, Soil, Consequences, Grassland, Fragmentation, Cleistogamy
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-70970DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209840ISI: 000454416400098PubMedID: 30586422OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-70970DiVA, id: diva2:1286755
Available from: 2019-02-07 Created: 2019-02-07 Last updated: 2020-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Eckstein, Rolf Lutz
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