Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Ecol Evol. 2014 May;4(9):1648-58. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1043. Epub 2014 Apr 4.

Using soil seed banks to assess temporal patterns of genetic variation in invasive plant populations.

Author information

1
University College Dublin, School of Biological and Environmental Science Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland ; RPS Group Willow Mere House, Compass Point Business Park, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 5JL, U.K.
2
University College Dublin, School of Biological and Environmental Science Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
3
University College Dublin, School of Physics Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
4
University College Dublin, School of Biological and Environmental Science Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland ; University College Dublin, School of Biological and Environmental Science Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Abstract

Most research on the genetics of invasive plant species has focused on analyzing spatial differences among existing populations. Using a long-established Gunnera tinctoria population from Ireland, we evaluated the potential of using plants derived from seeds associated with different soil layers to track genetic variation through time. This species and site were chosen because (1) G. tinctoria produces a large and persistent seed bank; (2) it has been present in this locality, Sraheens, for ∼90 years; (3) the soil is largely undisturbed; and (4) the soil's age can be reliably determined radiometrically at different depths. Amplified fragment length polymorphic markers (AFLPs) were used to assess differences in the genetic structure of 75 individuals sampled from both the standing population and from four soil layers, which spanned 18 cm (estimated at ∼90 years based on (210)Pb and (137)Cs dating). While there are difficulties in interpreting such data, including accounting for the effects of selection, seed loss, and seed migration, a clear pattern of lower total allele counts, percentage polymorphic loci, and genetic diversity was observed in deeper soils. The greatest percentage increase in the measured genetic variables occurred prior to the shift from the lag to the exponential range expansion phases and may be of adaptive significance. These findings highlight that seed banks in areas with long-established invasive populations can contain valuable genetic information relating to invasion processes and as such, should not be overlooked.

KEYWORDS:

AFLP; Gunnera tinctoria; biological invasions; population genetics; soil seed banks; stochastic evolutionary processes

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center