How do genes flow? Identifying potential dispersal mode for the semi-aquatic lichen Dermatocarpon luridum using spatial modelling and photobiont markers
Doering, Jennifer A
Wiersma, Yolanda F
Piercey-Normore, Michele D
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract Background Landscape genetics is an interdisciplinary field that combines tools and techniques from population genetics with the spatially explicit principles from landscape ecology. Spatial variation in genotypes is used to test hypotheses about how landscape pattern affects dispersal in a wide range of taxa. Lichens, symbiotic associations between mycobionts and photobionts, are an entity for which little is known about their dispersal mechanism. Our objective was to infer the dispersal mechanism in the semi-aquatic lichen Dermatocarpon luridum using spatial models and the spatial variation of the photobiont, Diplosphaera chodatii. We sequenced the ITS rDNA and the β-actin gene regions of the photobiont and mapped the haplotype spatial distribution in Payuk Lake. We subdivided Payuk Lake into subpopulations and applied four spatial models based on the topography and hydrology to infer the dispersal mechanism. Results Genetic variation corresponded with the topography of the lake and the net flow of water through the waterbody. A lack of isolation-by-distance suggests high gene flow or dispersal within the lake. We infer the dispersal mechanism in D. luridum could either be by wind and/or water based on the haplotype spatial distribution of its photobiont using the ITS rDNA and β-actin markers. Conclusions We inferred that the dispersal mechanism could be either wind and/or water dispersed due to the conflicting interpretations of our landscape hypotheses. This is the first study to use spatial modelling to infer dispersal in semi-aquatic lichens. The results of this study may help to understand lichen dispersal within aquatic landscapes, which can have implications in the conservation of rare or threatened lichens.