The impact of landscape disturbance on spatial genetic structure in the guanacaste tree, enterolobium cyclocarpum (fabaceae)

Eva Gonzales, James L. Hamrick, Peter E. Smouse, Dorset W. Trapnell, Rod Peakall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined spatial genetic structure (SGS) in Enterolobium cyclocarpum (the Guanacaste tree), a dominant tree of Central American dry forests in 4 sites in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. In disturbed dry forest sites (e.g., pastures), E. cyclocarpum is primarily dispersed by cattle and horses, whose movements are restricted by pasture boundaries. The study sites varied in tree densities and disturbance. Allozyme analyses of adult trees demonstrated significant levels of SGS in 3 of 4 sites. SGS was primarily due to clusters of young adults located along seasonal streams, rocky areas, and in abandoned pastures. SGS was highest in the first distance class in the least disturbed population, which also had the lowest density of large adults. Low, but significant SGS characterized the site with the highest number of large adults located in individual pastures. The semiurban site, had no clusters of young adults and, probably as a result, failed to exhibit SGS. Our results demonstrate that disturbance can strongly influence SGS patterns and are consistent with a landscape model in which the location of potential recruitment sites, restricted seed disperser movements, and the number and location of maternal individuals dictate the level and pattern of SGS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Heredity
Volume101
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Keywords

  • Enterolobium cyclocarpum
  • Landscape disturbance
  • Landscape genetics
  • Seed dispersal
  • Spatial genetic structure
  • Tropical dry forest

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