Interspecific and Intraspecific Pollination Patterns of Valley Oak, Quercus Lobata, in a Mixed Stand in Coastal Central California
journal contributionposted on 08.11.2013, 00:00 by Saji T. Abraham, David N. Zaya, Walter D. Koenig, Mary V. Ashley
Pollination patterns within Quercus lobata and interspecific hybridization between Q. lobata and Quercus douglasii were studied in a coastal central California mixed woodland. We first identified hybrids by means of microsatellite genotyping and assignment tests. Hybrids were rare, both among adults (4 of 190, 2.1%) and among acorns collected from Q. lobata trees (6 of 392, 1.5%). These low rates of hybridization at both early and late life history stages suggest that fertility barriers, rather than natural selection against hybrids, limit hybridization between these two species. However, hybrid adults, although rare, may facilitate gene flow between the two species. Acorns collected from a hybrid tree had both Q. lobata pollen donors (11 of 30, 37%) and Q. douglasii or hybrid pollen donors (19 of 30, 63%). After removing hybrid acorns from the analysis, we used paternity assignment to track pollination patterns within Q. lobata. Of 108 acorns, only 32 (30%) were assigned to candidate pollen donors within 200 m of the maternal tree, indicating that the majority of effective pollen travels more than 200 m. Individual trees had acorn crops with many different sires and an average effective number of pollen donors (Nep) of 219 per tree. Indirect methods using correlated paternity estimated mean pollination distances of ~100 m and mean Nep of 5.2 per tree, values much lower than those derived directly from paternity assignments.