Pollen Dispersal Between Isolated Trees in the Brazilian Savannah: A Case Study of the Neotropical Tree Hymenaea stigonocarpa
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This case study examines the pollen dispersal distance, pollen dispersal patterns and intra-family genetic structure for isolated trees in pastures of the bat-pollinated Neotropical tree species Hymenaea stigonocarpa using six microsatellite loci and parentage analysis. The sampling included 28 grouped trees (referred to as the population) and six isolated trees in pastureland along a highway in Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil. From the population, we sampled 137 seeds from 12 seed-trees, and from the isolated trees, we sampled 34 seeds from two seed-trees. The results showed that pollen was dispersed over long distances (reaching 7353 m) and therefore the spatially isolated trees were not reproductively isolated. The pollen immigration rate in the population was also high (31%). Isolated trees presented a higher selfing rate (s=26%) than trees in the population (s=12%), suggesting that the spatial isolation of the trees increased selfing. However, selfing was responsible for only 30 percent of the inbreeding in offspring and mating among relatives was 70 percent. In the population, excluding selfing, ca 72 percent of the pollen was dispersed over distances < 1000 m (average: 860 m). For the two isolated seed-trees, excluding selfing, the average pollen dispersal distance was 5229 m. The results demonstrate that although pollen can be dispersed over long distances for H. stigonocarpa isolated trees, a high percentage of pollen comes from the same tree (selfing) and mating was correlated. Consequently, seeds must be collected from a large number of seed-trees for conservation purposes.