Mating System in a Native Norway Spruce (Picea abies [L.] KARST.) Stand-Relatedness and Effective Pollen Population Size Show an Association with the Germination Percentage of Single Tree Progenies
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17475
Norway spruce differs little in neutral genetic markers among populations and provenances often reported, but in terms of putative adaptive traits and their candidate genes, some clear differences have been observed. This has previously been shown for crown morphotypes. Stands with mostly narrow crown shapes are adapted to high elevation conditions, but these stands are scattered, and the forest area is often occupied by planted stands with predominantly broad crowned morphotypes. This raises questions on whether this differentiation can remain despite gene flow, and on the level of gene flow between natural and planted stands growing in close neighbourhood. The locally adapted stands are a valuable seed source, the progeny of which is expected to have high genetic quality and germination ability. The presented case study is useful for spruce plantation by demonstrating evaluation of these expectations. Immigrant pollen and seeds from planted trees could be maladaptive and may alter the genetic composition of the progeny. This motivated us to study single tree progenies in a locally adapted stand with narrow crowned trees in a partial mast year at nuclear genomic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Spruce is a typical open-pollinated conifer tree species with very low selfing rates, which were also observed in our study (s = 0.3–2.1%) and could be explained by efficient cross-pollination and postzygotic early embryo abortion, common in conifers. The estimated high amount of immigrant pollen found in the pooled seed lot (70.2–91.5%) is likely to influence the genetic composition of the seedlings. Notably, for individual mother trees located in the centre of the stand, up to 50% of the pollen was characterised as local. Seeds from these trees are therefore considered to retain most of the adaptive variance of the stand. Germination percentage varied greatly between half-sib families (3.6–61.9%) and was negatively correlated with relatedness and positively with effective pollen population size of the respective families. As pollen mostly originated from outside the stand and no family structures in the stand itself were found, germination differences can likely be explained by diversity differences in the individual pollen cloud.
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