The impact of asexual and sexual reproduction in spatial genetic structure within and between populations of the dioecious plant Marchantia inflexa (Marchantiaceae)

Jessica R. Brzyski, Christopher R. Stieha, D. Nicholas McLetchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Aims: In dioecious plants, sexual reproduction requires close proximity to potential mates, but clonal growth can increase this distance and, therefore, reduce the probability of mating. Reduction in sexual propagules can lead to decreased dispersal and gene flow between populations. Gene flow and clonal growth may be further influenced by the size of the habitat patch. The effects of habitat size and reproductive mode (sexual or asexual reproduction) on spatial genetic structure and segregation of the sexes were tested by quantifying the distributions of genotypes and the sexes using the dioecious liverwort Marchantia inflexa. Methods: Plants were sampled from five pairs of small-large habitat patches to identify within- and among-population spatial genetic structure using 12 microsatellite markers. Spatial distributions were calculated as the likelihood that pairs of individuals were the same sex or genotype, and it was determined how that likelihood was affected by habitat patch size (small/large). Key Results: Asexual reproduction dominates within populations, and asexual dispersal also occurred across populations. Spatial segregation of the sexes was observed within populations; males were more likely to be near individuals of the same sex than were females. Although the likelihood of both sexes being near members of the same sex was similarly greater on small habitat patches, on large habitat patches male genotypes were almost 15 % more likely to be near clonemates than were female genotypes. Conclusions: The results show a sex difference in clonal clumping that was dependent upon habitat size, suggesting differential colonization and/or survival between males and females. The sexes and genotypes being structured differently within and among populations have implications for the persistence of populations and the interactions between them. This study demonstrates that studying only the sexes and not their genotypes (or vice versa) can limit our understanding of the extent to which reproductive modes (sexual or asexual) influence genetic structure both within and between populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1003
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Botany
Volume122
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 30 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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