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Genetic diversity and structure of a pioneer tree species in primary and early successional stage forests

Grant number: 07/08682-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2008
Effective date (End): June 30, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Flavio Antonio Maës dos Santos
Grantee:Milene Silvestrini
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Spatial genetic structure of plant populations may vary among different life stages, across generations and among different environmental conditions. These changes are guided by ecological and evolutionary factors. Understanding the effects of these factors on the genetic diversity and structure of populations is important to define strategies of forest conservation and restoration, in order to guarantee the maintenance of their evolutive and ecological dynamics as similar as possible to the natural conditions. Pioneer tree species exhibit particular life histories and population structures that are mainly affected by the patchy dynamics of the tropical rainforests. These characteristics and ecological processes, as well as other factors such as the level of human disturbance and the distance among populations, have significant consequences on their genetic structure and evolution, however this is still poorly understood. The aim of this study is to evaluate the genetic diversity and structure of the pioneer tree Croton floribundus Spreng. (Euphorbiaceae) across three successive size classes and among populations in a primary forest and three early successional stage forests, with three different distances from the primary forest. We will analyze the ecological and genetic factors that influence the patterns found and test if the distance from the primary forest affects the genetic diversity and fine-scale structure of populations in early successional stage forests. Microsatellites markers will be developed for this species to provide the following genetic parameters: average number of alleles per locus (A), effective number of alleles per locus (Ae), proportion of polymorphic loci (P), average observed heterozygosity (Ho), average expected heterozygosity (He), F-statistics, genetic distances and gene flow. Spatial autocorrelation and cluster analyses will also be performed. A, Ae, P, Ho and He will provide the genetic diversity characterization. F-statistics, genetic distances, cluster analyses and spatial autocorrelation will provide the spatial genetic structure parameters.

Academic Publications
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