Genetical Research

Two-generation analysis of pollen flow across a landscape. III. Impact of adult population structure

a1 Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8551, USA
a2 Laboratoire de Génétique et d’Amélioration des Arbres Forestiers, INRA, Pierroton, 33611 Gazinet cedex, France


The rate and distance of instantaneous pollen flow in a population are parameters of considerable current interest for plant population geneticists and conservation biologists. We have recently developed an estimator (Φft) of differentiation between the inferred pollen clouds that fertilize several females, sampled within a single population. We have shown that there is a simple relation between Φft and the average pollen dispersal distance (δ) for the case of a population with no geographic structure. Though forest trees usually show considerable pollen flow, assuming an absence of spatially distributed genetic structure is not always wise. Here, we develop analytical theory for the relation between Φft and δ, for the case where the probability of Identity by Descent (IBD) for two individuals decreases with the physical distance between them. This analytical theory allows us to provide an effective method for estimating pollen dispersal distance in a population with adult genetic structure. Using real examples, we show that estimation errors can be large if genetic structure is not taken into account, so it is wise to evaluate adult genetic structure simultaneously with estimation of Φft for the pollen clouds. We show that the results are only moderately affected by changes in the decay function, a result of some importance since no completely established theory is available for this function.

(Received December 20 2000)
(Revised June 23 2001)

c1 Corresponding author. Laboratoire de Génétique et d’Amélioration des Arbres Forestiers, INRA – Domaine de l’Hermitage, B.P. 45, Pierroton, F-33611 Gazinet cedex, France. Tel: +33 5 57 97 90 83. Fax: +33 5 57 97 90 88. e-mail: