Strong population bottleneck and repeated demographic expansions of Populus adenopoda (Salicaceae) in subtropical China

Liqiang Fan, Honglei Zheng, Richard I Milne, Lei Zhang, Kangshan Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background and Aims: Glacial refugia and inter-/postglacial recolonization routes during the Quaternary of tree species in Europe and North America are well understood, but far less is known about those of tree species in subtropical eastern Asia. Thus, we have examined the phylogeographic history of Populus adenopoda (Salicaceae), one of the few poplars that naturally occur in this subtropical area.

Methods: Genetic variations across the range of the species in subtropical China were surveyed using ten nuclear microsatellite loci and four chloroplast fragments (matK, trnG-psbK, psbK-psbI and ndhC-trnV). Coalescent-based analyses were used to test demographic and migration hypotheses. In addition, species distribution models (SDMs) were constructed to infer past, present and future potential distributions of the species.

Key Results: Thirteen chloroplast haplotypes were detected, and haplotype-rich populations were found in central and southern parts of the species' range. STRUCTURE analyses of nuclear microsatellite loci suggest obvious lineage admixture, especially in peripheral and northern populations. DIYABC analysis suggests that the species might have experienced two independent rounds of demographic expansions and a strong bottleneck in the late Quaternary. SDMs indicate that the species' range contracted during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and contracted northward but expanded eastward during the Last Interglacial (LIG).

Conclusions: Chloroplast data and SDMs suggest that P. adenopoda might have survived in multiple glacial refugia in central and southern parts of its range during the LGM. Populations of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in the southern part have high chloroplast DNA diversity, but may have contributed little to the postglacial recolonization of northern and eastern parts. The three major demographic events inferred by DIYABC coincide with the initiation of the LIG, start of the LGM and end of the LGM, respectively. The species may have experienced multiple rounds of range contraction during glacial periods and range expansion during interglacial periods. Our study corroborates the importance of combining multiple lines of evidence when reconstructing Quaternary population evolutionary histories.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Botany
Early online date6 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Microsatellite
  • Quaternary
  • coalescent tests
  • demographic history
  • multiple loci
  • species distribution modelling


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