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Data from: Rapid buildup of genetic diversity in founder populations of the gynodioecious plant species Origanum vulgare after semi-natural grassland restoration

Citation

Helsen, Kenny et al. (2013), Data from: Rapid buildup of genetic diversity in founder populations of the gynodioecious plant species Origanum vulgare after semi-natural grassland restoration, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.08gc2

Abstract

In most landscapes the success of habitat restoration is largely dependent on spontaneous colonization of plant species. This colonization process, and the outcome of restoration practices, can only be considered successful if the genetic makeup of founding populations is not eroded through founder effects and subsequent genetic drift. Here we used 10 microsatellite markers to investigate the genetic effects of recent colonization of the long-lived gynodioecious species Origanum vulgare in restored semi-natural grassland patches. We compared the genetic diversity and differentiation of fourteen recent populations with that of thirteen old, putative source populations, and we evaluated the effects of spatial configuration of the populations on colonization patterns. We did not observe decreased genetic diversity in recent populations, or inflated genetic differentiation among them. Nevertheless, a significantly higher inbreeding coefficient was observed in recent populations, although this was not associated with negative fitness effects. Overall population genetic differentiation was low (FST = 0.040). Individuals of restored populations were assigned to on average 6.1 different source populations (likely following the ‘migrant pool’ model). Gene flow was, however, affected by the spatial configuration of the grasslands, with gene flow into the recent populations mainly originating from nearby source populations. This study demonstrates how spontaneous colonization after habitat restoration can lead to viable populations in a relatively short time, overcoming pronounced founder effects, when several source populations are nearby. Restored populations can therefore rapidly act as stepping stones and sources of genetic diversity, likely increasing overall metapopulation viability of the study species.

Usage Notes

Location

Belgium
Viroin Valley