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Article

Origin, Persistence, and Vulnerability to Climate Changes of Podocarpus Populations in Central African Mountains

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Service Evolution Biologique et Ecologie, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat—Expérimentations et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN/IPSL), CNRS UMR 7159, Sorbonne Université, 75006 Paris, France
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Muséum Départemental du Var, Jardin Départemental du Las, 737 Chemin du Jonquet, 83200 Toulon, France
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Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB), UMR 7205—CNRS, MNHN, SU, EPHE, UA, Sorbonne Université, 75006 Paris, France
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Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Paris Sciences et Lettres University (PSL), 75006 Paris, France
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Herbier National du Cameroun, Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement, Yaoundé P.O. Box BP 2123, Cameroon
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Nature + asbl/TERRA Research Centre, Central African Forests, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Université de Liège, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium
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Laboratoire de Botanique et Ecologie, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Marien Ngouabi University, Brazzaville P.O. Box 69, Congo
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Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Nairobi 20412-00200, Kenya
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Natural Africa Concern, Nairobi P.O. Box 28513, Kenya
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Biocenter Klein Flottbek and Botanical Garden (BioZ Flottbek), University of Hamburg, 22609 Hamburg, Germany
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Herbarío do Lubango, ISCED-Huíla, Rua Sarmento Rodrigues S/N, Lubango, Angola
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Herbarium et Bibliothèque de Botanique Africaine, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Africa and Madagascar Department, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
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Botanic Garden Meise, 1860 Meise, Belgium
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Claudia Mattioni
Forests 2022, 13(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020208
Received: 13 May 2021 / Revised: 17 January 2022 / Accepted: 19 January 2022 / Published: 29 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Past Environmental Changes and Forest Conservation)
Background and objectives—Podocarpus latifolius (synonym of P. milanjianus) is a key tree representative of Afromontane forests where it is highly threatened by climate and land-use changes. While large populations occur in East Africa, only a few isolated and usually small populations remain in western Central Africa (Cameroon to Angola). Studying the evolutionary history of such relictual populations can thus be relevant to understand their resilience under changing environments. Materials and Methods—we developed nine polymorphic nuclear microsatellites (nSSRs) to estimate genetic variability, (historical) gene flow, and demographic changes among natural populations from Central to East Africa. Results—despite the extended distribution range of P. latifolius, a strong isolation-by-distance pattern emerges at the intra-population scale, indicating low seed and pollen dispersal capacities. Central African populations display a lower genetic diversity (He = 0.34 to 0.61) and are more differentiated from each other (FST = 0.28) than are East African populations (He = 0.65 to 0.71; FST = 0.10), suggesting high genetic drift in the Central African populations. Spatial genetic structure reveals past connections between East and West Africa but also a gene flow barrier across the equator in western Central Africa. Demographic modelling anchors the history of current lineages in the Pleistocene and supports a strong demographic decline in most western populations during the last glacial period. By contrast, no signature of demographic change was detected in East African populations. Conclusions—in Cameroon, our results exclude a recent (re)colonization from one source population of all mountain ranges, but rather indicate long-term persistence of populations in each mountain with fluctuating sizes. A higher impact of genetic drift and further loss of diversity can be expected by survival through climatically unfavorable periods in such small refugial populations. Tracking the Quaternary legacy of podocarp populations is thus essential for their conservation since there is a temporal gap between environment crises and an ecological/genetic answer at the population level. View Full-Text
Keywords: Afromontane forests; demographic inference; gene flow; Podocarpus latifolius/milanjianus; population genetics; SSR genotyping Afromontane forests; demographic inference; gene flow; Podocarpus latifolius/milanjianus; population genetics; SSR genotyping
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MDPI and ACS Style

Migliore, J.; Lézine, A.-M.; Veuille, M.; Achoundong, G.; Tchiengué, B.; Boom, A.F.; Monthe, F.K.; Bouka, G.U.D.; Omondi, S.F.; Wagura, L.; Gonçalves, F.M.P.; Stévart, T.; Farminhão, J.N.M.; Hardy, O.J. Origin, Persistence, and Vulnerability to Climate Changes of Podocarpus Populations in Central African Mountains. Forests 2022, 13, 208. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020208

AMA Style

Migliore J, Lézine A-M, Veuille M, Achoundong G, Tchiengué B, Boom AF, Monthe FK, Bouka GUD, Omondi SF, Wagura L, Gonçalves FMP, Stévart T, Farminhão JNM, Hardy OJ. Origin, Persistence, and Vulnerability to Climate Changes of Podocarpus Populations in Central African Mountains. Forests. 2022; 13(2):208. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020208

Chicago/Turabian Style

Migliore, Jérémy, Anne-Marie Lézine, Michel Veuille, Gaston Achoundong, Barthélémy Tchiengué, Arthur F. Boom, Franck K. Monthe, Gaël U.D. Bouka, Stephen F. Omondi, Lawrence Wagura, Francisco M.P. Gonçalves, Tariq Stévart, João N.M. Farminhão, and Olivier J. Hardy. 2022. "Origin, Persistence, and Vulnerability to Climate Changes of Podocarpus Populations in Central African Mountains" Forests 13, no. 2: 208. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020208

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