Less pollen-mediated gene flow for more signatures of glacial lineages: congruent evidence from balsam fir cpDNA and mtDNA for multiple refugia in eastern and central North America.
ABSTRACT: The phylogeographic structure and postglacial history of balsam fir (Abies balsamea), a transcontinental North American boreal conifer, was inferred using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) markers. Genetic structure among 107 populations (mtDNA data) and 75 populations (cpDNA data) was analyzed using Bayesian and genetic distance approaches. Population differentiation was high for mtDNA (dispersed by seeds only), but also for cpDNA (dispersed by seeds and pollen), indicating that pollen gene flow is more restricted in balsam fir than in other boreal conifers. Low cpDNA gene flow in balsam fir may relate to low pollen production due to the inherent biology of the species and populations being decimated by recurrent spruce budworm epidemics, and/or to low dispersal of pollen grains due to their peculiar structural properties. Accordingly, a phylogeographic structure was detected using both mtDNA and cpDNA markers and population structure analyses supported the existence of at least five genetically distinct glacial lineages in central and eastern North America. Four of these would originate from glacial refugia located south of the Laurentide ice sheet, while the last one would have persisted in the northern Labrador region. As expected due to reduced pollen-mediated gene flow, congruence between the geographic distribution of mtDNA and cpDNA lineages was higher than in other North American conifers. However, concordance was not complete, reflecting that restricted but nonetheless detectable cpDNA gene flow among glacial lineages occurred during the Holocene. As a result, new cpDNA and mtDNA genome combinations indicative of cytoplasmic genome capture were observed.
Project description:Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) are two North American boreal hard pines that hybridize in their zone of contact in western Canada. The main objective of this study was to characterize their patterns of introgression resulting from past and recent gene flow, using cytoplasmic markers having maternal or paternal inheritance. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) diversity was assessed in allopatric populations of each species and in stands from the current zone of contact containing morphological hybrids. Cluster analyses were used to identify genetic discontinuities among groups of populations. A canonical analysis was also conducted to detect putative associations among cytoplasmic DNA variation, tree morphology, and site ecological features. MtDNA introgression was extensive and asymmetric: it was detected in P. banksiana populations from the hybrid zone and from allopatric areas, but not in P. contorta populations. Very weak cpDNA introgression was observed, and only in P. banksiana populations. The mtDNA introgression pattern indicated that central Canada was first colonized by migrants from a P. contorta glacial population located west of the Rocky Mountains, before being replaced by P. banksiana migrating westward during the Holocene. In contrast, extensive pollen gene flow would have erased the cpDNA traces of this ancient presence of P. contorta. Additional evidence for this process was provided by the results of canonical analysis, which indicated that the current cpDNA background of trees reflected recent pollen gene flow from the surrounding dominant species rather than historical events that took place during the postglacial colonization.
Project description:The boreal ecocline (ca 49°N) between the southern mixedwood (dominated by balsam fir) and the northern coniferous bioclimatic domain (dominated by black spruce) may be explained by a northward decrease of balsam fir regeneration, explaining the gradual shift to black spruce dominance. 7,010 sample plots, with absence of major disturbances, were provided by the Quebec Ministry of Forest, Fauna, and Parks. The regeneration (sapling abundance) of balsam fir and black spruce were compared within and between the two bioclimatic domains, accounting for parental trees, main soil type (clay and till) and climate conditions, reflected by summer growing degree-days above 5°C (GDD_5), total summer precipitation (May-August; PP_MA). Parental trees and soil type determined balsam fir and black spruce regeneration. Balsam fir and black spruce, respectively, showed higher regeneration in the mixedwood and the coniferous bioclimatic domains. Overall, higher regeneration was obtained on till for balsam fir, and on clay soils for black spruce. GDD_5 and PP_MA were beneficial for balsam fir regeneration on clay and till soils, respectively, while they were detrimental for black spruce regeneration. At a population level, balsam fir required at least 28% of parental tree basal area in the mixedwood, and 38% in the coniferous bioclimatic domains to maintain a regeneration at least equal to the mean regeneration of the whole study area. However, black spruce required 82% and 79% of parental trees basal area in the mixedwood and the coniferous domains, respectively. The northern limit of the mixedwood bioclimatic domain was attributed to a gradual decrease toward the north of balsam fir regeneration most likely due to cooler temperatures, shorter growing seasons, and decrease of the parental trees further north of this northern limit. However, balsam fir still persists above this northern limit, owing to a patchy occurrence of small parental trees populations, and good establishment substrates.
Project description:Succession is generally well described above-ground in the boreal forest, and several studies have demonstrated the role of interspecific facilitation in tree species establishment. However, the role of mycorrhizal communities for tree establishment and interspecific facilitation, has been little explored. At the ecotone between the mixed boreal forest, dominated by balsam fir and hardwood species, and the boreal forest, dominated by black spruce, several stands of trembling aspen can be found, surrounded by black spruce forest. Regeneration of balsam fir seems to have increased in the recent decades within the boreal forest, and it seems better adapted to grow in trembling aspen stands than in black spruce stands, even when located in similar abiotic conditions. As black spruce stands are also covered by ericaceous shrubs, we investigated if differences in soil fungal communities and ericaceous shrubs abundance could explain the differences observed in balsam fir growth and nutrition. We conducted a study centered on individual saplings to link growth and foliar nutrient concentrations to local vegetation cover, mycorrhization rate, and mycorrhizal communities associated with balsam fir roots. We found that foliar nutrient concentrations and ramification indices (colonization by mycorrhiza per length of root) were greater in trembling aspen stands and were positively correlated to apical and lateral growth of balsam fir saplings. In black spruce stands, the presence of ericaceous shrubs near balsam fir saplings affected ectomycorrhizal communities associated with tree roots which in turn negatively correlated with N foliar concentrations. Our results reveal that fungal communities observed under aspen are drivers of balsam fir early growth and nutrition in boreal forest stands and may facilitate ecotone migration in a context of climate change.
Project description:Old-growth forests play a major role in conserving biodiversity, protecting water resources, and sequestrating carbon, as well as serving as indispensable resources for indigenous societies. Novel silvicultural practices must be developed to emulate the natural dynamics and structural attributes of old-growth forests and preserve the ecosystem services provided by these boreal ecosystems. The success of these forest management strategies depends on developing an accurate understanding of natural regeneration dynamics. Our goal was therefore to identify the main patterns and drivers involved in the regeneration dynamics of old-growth forests with a focus on boreal stands dominated by black spruce (Picea mariana (L.) Mill.) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.) in eastern Canada. We sampled 71 stands in a 2 200 km2 study area located within Quebec's boreal region. For each stand, we noted tree regeneration (seedlings and saplings), structural attributes (diameter distribution, deadwood volume, etc.), and abiotic (slope and soil) factors. The presence of seed-trees located nearby and slopes having moderate to high angles most influenced balsam fir regeneration. In contrast, the indirect indices of recent secondary disturbances (e.g., insect outbreaks or windthrows) and topographic constraints (slope and drainage) most influenced black spruce regeneration. We propose that black spruce regeneration dynamics can be separated into distinct phases: (i) layering within the understory, (ii) seedling growth when gaps open in the canopy, (iii) gradual canopy closure, and (iv) production of new layers once the canopy is closed. These dynamics are not observed in paludified stands or stands where balsam fir is more competitive than black spruce. Overall, this research helps explain the complexity of old-growth forest dynamics, where many ecological factors interact at multiple temporal and spatial scales. This study also improves our understanding of ecological processes within primary old-growth forests and identifies the key factors to consider when ensuring the sustainable management of old-growth boreal stands.
Project description:Temperate conifers and broadleaved mixed forests in northeast China are ideal to investigate the genetic consequences of climate changes during the last glacial maximum (LGM), 29 - 16 kya. As previous studies were focused on tree species with long generation time; here, the evolutionary history of Schisandra chinensis, a climber species with a generation time of five years, was investigated using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA), nuclear single copy gene (nSCG), and nuclear single sequence repeats (nSSRs, i.e., microsatellite) markers, along with ecological niche modeling (ENM), which predicted a suitable habitat in Korea Peninsula (KP) during the LGM. Private haplotypes and high genetic diversity of both cpDNA and nSCG were mainly found in KP and Changbai Mt. (CB). Although no significant phylogeographic structure was detected in the cpDNA and nSCG, three nSSRs clusters roughly distributed in west (CB and KP), east (north China), and north (Xiaoxing'an Range, XR) regions were found in Structure analysis. The approximate Bayesian computation analysis showed the west cluster diverged at 35.45 kya, and the other two clusters at 19.85 kya. The genetic diversity calculated for each of the three markers showed no significant correlation with latitude. Genetic differentiation of nSSRs was also not correlated with geographic distance. Migrate analysis estimated extensive gene flow between almost all genetic cluster pairs and BOTTLENECK analysis showed that few populations experienced severe bottlenecks. Overall, results indicate that S. chinensis survived the LGM in situ in multiple refugia, which likely include two macrorefugia (KP and CB) and two microrefugia (XR and north China). Extensive postglacial gene flow among the three nSSRs clusters led to uniformly distributed genetic diversity and low genetic differentiation.
Project description:Paleorecords offer key information for evaluating model simulations of species migration in response to forecast climatic change. However, their utility can be greatly compromised by the existence of glacial refugia that are undetectable in fossil records (cryptic refugia). Despite several decades of investigation, it remains controversial whether Beringia, the largely unglaciated area extending from northeastern Siberia to the Yukon Territory, harbored small populations of certain boreal tree species during the last glaciation. Here, we present genetic evidence for the existence of a glacial refuge in Alaska that helps to resolve this long-standing controversy. We sequenced chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) of white spruce (Picea glauca), a dominant boreal tree species, in 24 forest stands across northwestern North America. The majority of cpDNA haplotypes are unique, and haplotype diversity is relatively high in Alaska, arguing against the possibility that this species migrated into the region from areas south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet after the end of the last glaciation. Thus, white spruce apparently survived long glacial episodes under climatic extremes in a heterogeneous landscape matrix. These results suggest that estimated rates of tree migration from fossil records may be too high and that the ability of trees to track anthropogenic warming may be more limited than previously thought.
Project description:Forest regeneration is a key element in achieving sustainable forest management. Partial harvest methods have been used extensively in temperate broadleaf and mixedwood ecosystems to promote regeneration on poorly stocked sites and to maintain forest composition and productivity. However, their effectiveness in promoting conifer establishment has yet to be demonstrated in unmanaged boreal forests, especially those dominated by black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) where constraints for regeneration differ from those found in more meridional regions. We aimed to evaluate conifer seedling density and dimensions, 10 years after the onset of a gradient of silvicultural treatments varying in harvesting intensities, and to identify the critical factors driving the regeneration process. Study blocks of even-aged black spruce stands in the eastern Canadian boreal forest were submitted to three variants of shelterwood harvesting: a seed-tree harvest, a clear-cut and an untreated control. Shelterwood and seed-tree harvesting were combined with spot scarification to promote regeneration. Shelterwood and seed-tree harvesting produced a density of conifer regeneration sufficient to maintain forest productivity, but they did not promote seedling growth. Black spruce was the predominant species in terms of regeneration density, with proportions 3-5× higher than that for balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.). Ten years after treatment, seed-origin black spruce seedlings were abundant in skidding trails, while layers dominated the residual strips. Balsam fir density was not influenced by treatment nor by tree position relative to skidding trails. Balsam fir and black spruce had different responses to treatment in terms of height and diameter, the former exhibiting a better growth performance and larger diameter in the residual strips. Spot scarification created micro-sites that had a significant impact on the regeneration process. Overall, our results support that shelterwood and seed-tree harvesting combined with scarification enable adequate regeneration in black spruce stands, confirming these treatments as viable silvicultural alternatives to clear-cutting when required by sustainable forest management objectives.
Project description:During an inventory of insect diversity on Anticosti Island in 1993, we caught unprecedented numbers of Neospondylis upiformis (Mannerheim), a longhorned beetle rarely observed in eastern North America. All specimens were caught using 12-funnel Lindgren traps baited with 95% ethanol and ?-pinene. This longhorned beetle was captured again in 2007 on Anticosti with the same traps. Other than that, seven specimens of N. upiformis were caught elsewhere in Quebec between 1993 and 2015. Only 14 specimens were found in the 45 most important insect collections of the province, the most recent specimen dating back to 1964.At least 90% of the captures came from old-growth balsam fir stands of the south-central part of the island. Seasonal flight activity ranged from early June to late July, but adult captures peaked in early July. Results suggest that Anticosti Island might be a hot spot for N. upiformis in eastern North America, particularly in its south-central part where old-growth balsam fir forests still exist.
Project description:Our current understanding of the evolutionary history of boreal and arctic-alpine plants in their southern range in Asia remains relatively poor. Using three cpDNA non-coding regions and nine nuclear microsatellite (nSSR) loci, we examine the phylogeographic pattern in a broad geographic sampling of the boreal plant Hippuris vulgaris to infer its dispersal and diversification in China. In addition, the species distributions at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and at present were predicted using ecological niche modeling (ENM).The cpDNA results revealed two distinct lineages, A and B. A is restricted to Northeast China; B is distributed in Northwest China, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) and North and Northeast (NNE) China; and A and B diverged ca. 1.36 Ma. The nSSR data revealed two genetic clusters corresponding to the two cpDNA lineages and nonreciprocal hybridization with lineage A as the maternal lineage in Northeast China. Cluster B further divided into three subclusters: I, mainly in NNE China and the northeastern border of the QTP; II, in Northwest China and the QTP; and III, on the QTP. ENM predicted a marked range shift on the QTP at the LGM, retreating from the platform to the northeast and southeast edges.Hippuris vulgaris probably diverged into lineages A and B in high latitudes and then immigrated into Northeast China and Northwest China, respectively. Lineage A persisted and diversified in Northeast China. Lineage B reached the QTP during the mid-Pleistocene, diversified in that region due to the influence of climatic oscillations, migrated into Northeast China and subsequently hybridized with lineage A. Our findings give empirical evidence that boreal plants display complex evolutionary history in their southern range in Asia and provide new insights into the evolution of boreal and arctic-alpine plants.
Project description:The population genetic structure of northern boreal species has been strongly influenced both by the Quaternary glaciations and the presence of contemporary barriers, such as mountain ranges and rivers. We used a combination of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), nuclear microsatellites and spatial distribution modelling to study the population genetic structure of the boreal chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus), a resident passerine, and to investigate whether historical or contemporary barriers have influenced this northern species. MtDNA data showed evidence of eastern and western groups, with secondary admixture occurring in central Canada. This suggests that the boreal chickadee probably persisted in multiple glacial refugia, one in Beringia and at least one in the east. Palaeo-distribution modelling identified suitable habitat in Beringia (Alaska), Atlantic Canada and the southern United States, and correspond to divergence dates of 60-96?kya. Pairwise FST values for both mtDNA and microsatellites were significant for all comparisons involving Newfoundland, though mtDNA data suggest a more recent separation. Furthermore, unlike mtDNA data, nuclear data support population connectivity among the continental populations, possibly due to male-biased dispersal. Although both are significant, the isolation-by-distance signal is much stronger for mtDNA (r(2)=0.51) than for microsatellites (r(2)=0.05), supporting the hypothesis of male-biased dispersal. The population structure of the boreal chickadee was influenced by isolation in multiple refugia and contemporary barriers. In addition to geographical distance, physical barriers such as the Strait of Belle Isle and northern mountains in Alaska are restricting gene flow, whereas the Rocky Mountains in the west are a porous barrier.