Data from: Spatial patterns of AFLP diversity in Bulbophyllum occultum (Orchidaceae) indicate long-term refugial isolation in Madagascar and long-distance colonization effects in La Réunion
Jaros, Ursula; Fischer, Gunter A.; Pailler, Thierry; Comes, Hans Peter (2015), Data from: Spatial patterns of AFLP diversity in Bulbophyllum occultum (Orchidaceae) indicate long-term refugial isolation in Madagascar and long-distance colonization effects in La Réunion, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1q34p
Bulbophyllum occultum, an epiphytic orchid mainly distributed in the rainforests of (north)eastern Madagascar and La Réunion, represents an interesting model case for testing the effects of anthropogenic vs historical (e.g., climate induced) habitat isolation and long-distance colonization on the genetic structure of plant species with disjunct distributions in the Madagascan region. To this aim, we surveyed amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) across 13 populations in Madagascar and nine in La Réunion (206 individuals in total). We found overall high levels of population subdivision (ΦPT=0.387) and low within-population diversity (HE, range: 0.026–0.124), indicating non-equilibrium conditions in a mainly selfing species. There was no impact of recent deforestation (Madagascar) or habitat disturbance (La Réunion) detectable on AFLP diversity. K-means clustering and BARRIER analyses identified multiple gene pools and several genetic breaks, both within and among islands. Inter-island levels of population genetic diversity and subdivision were similar, whereby inter-individual divergence in flower colour explained a significant part of gene pool divergence in La Réunion. Our results suggest that (i) B. occultum persisted across multiple isolated (‘refugial’) regions along the eastern rainforest corridor of Madagascar over recent climatic cycles and (ii) populations in La Réunion arose from either single or few independent introductions from Madagascar. High selfing rates and sufficient time for genetic drift likely promoted unexpectedly high population genetic and phenotypic (flower colour) differentiation in La Réunion. Overall, this study highlights a strong imprint of history on the genetic structure of a low-gene-dispersing epiphytic orchid from the Madagascan region.