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Assessing Clark's nutcracker seed-caching flights using maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA of whitebark pine

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Maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA haplotypes in whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) were used to examine the maternal genetic structure at three hierarchical spatial scales: fine scale, coarse scale, and inter population. These data were used to draw inferences into Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana Wilson) seed-caching flight distances. Statistical analyses of fine-scale and coarse-scale distribution of haplotypes showed no apparent signs of deviation from a random pattern. This suggests nutcrackers are effective in dispersal of seed within populations, which is consistent with data gathered on nutcracker seed-caching behavior. However, the lack of homogeneity in haplotype frequencies among populations indicates nutcrackers rarely disperse seeds across large gaps (>20 km) in subalpine habitat.

Les auteurs ont utilisé des haplotypes d'ADN mitochondrial transmis maternellement chez le pin à écorce blanche (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) afin d'étudier la structure génétique maternelle à trois échelles spatiales hiérarchiques : à grande et à petite échelles, et parmi les populations. Ces données ont permis d'inférer les distances de vol du casse-noix d'Amérique (Nucifraga columbiana Wilson) pour établir ses caches de graines. Les analyses statistiques de la distribution des haplotypes à grande et à petite échelles n'ont pas montré de signes d'une déviation par rapport à une distribution aléatoire. Cette observation suggère que les casse-noix dispersent efficacement les graines à l'intérieur des populations, ce qui est consistant avec les données se rapportant aux habitudes d'entreposage des graines chez cette espèce. Cependant, une hétérogénéité des fréquences d'haplotypes a été remarquée parmi les populations, impliquant que les casse-noix traversent rarement des grandes trouées (>20 km) pour disperser des graines, au sein de l'habitat subalpin.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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