iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Comparison of range-wide chloroplast microsatellite and needle trait variation patterns in Pinus mugo Turra (dwarf mountain pine)

Weronika Barbara Zukowska (1)   , Krystyna Boratynska (1), Witold Wachowiak (1-2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 250-258 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1860-009
Published: Feb 11, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

In this study, range-wide genetic variation was analysed in 553 Pinus mugo Turra (dwarf mountain pine) individuals from 21 locations using 11 chloroplast microsatellites. Our main goal was to assess the spatial distribution of neutral genetic variation. We also used data from a previous study on the morphological variation of needles from 18 stands of P. mugo. In total, 22 needle characteristics were reanalysed and compared to microsatellite data to describe the distribution of morphological variation in the context of neutral genetic variation. We hypothesised that the chloroplast microsatellite and needle trait variation patterns would not entirely overlap. The results indicate the recent divergence of P. mugo populations derived from a formerly larger distribution. We identified 4 genetic and 3 morphological clusters whose spatial distribution overlapped only to some extent. The distribution of genetic variation showed a south-north pattern with signs of admixture in the Alps and Carpathians. Two south-westernmost stands from Italy were evidently isolated from the others. In contrast, morphological variation tended to display a west-east pattern. A separate group based on needle traits was formed mostly by eastern stands and was not observed by microsatellite analysis. In addition, a few needle characteristics significantly correlated with longitude and climate variables. These findings suggest that eastern populations of P. mugo may be of different origin and/or that some needle characteristics may be adaptively important in these locations. The potential roles of past demographic events, phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in shaping the patterns of genetic and morphological variation in P. mugo are discussed.


Adaptation, cpSSRs, Genetic Diversity, Morphological Variation, Neutral Genetic Markers, Phenotypic Plasticity

Authors’ address

Weronika Barbara Zukowska
Krystyna Boratynska
Witold Wachowiak
Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Parkowa 5, 62-035 Kornik (Poland)
Witold Wachowiak
Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan (Poland)

Corresponding author

Weronika Barbara Zukowska


Zukowska WB, Boratynska K, Wachowiak W (2017). Comparison of range-wide chloroplast microsatellite and needle trait variation patterns in Pinus mugo Turra (dwarf mountain pine). iForest 10: 250-258. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1860-009

Academic Editor

Andrea Piotti

Paper history

Received: Sep 05, 2015
Accepted: Sep 19, 2016

First online: Feb 11, 2017
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2017
Publication Time: 4.83 months

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