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A Study of Spatial Features of Clones in a Population of Bracken Fern, Pteridium aquilinum (Dennstaedtiaceae)

James C. Parks and Charles R. Werth
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 80, No. 5 (May, 1993), pp. 537-544
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445369
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Study of Spatial Features of Clones in a Population of Bracken Fern, Pteridium aquilinum (Dennstaedtiaceae)
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Abstract

Allozymes were used to study the spatial attributes of clones (genets) comprising a population of Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn var. latiusculum (Desv.) Underw. ex Heller (bracken fern) in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Ramets (individual leaves) were sampled at intervals of 165 m (or less in some cases) and genotyped for six polymorphic isozyme loci to produce a map depicting the spatial patterning of genets. Forty-five distinct genotypes were detected, 14 of which were sampled more than once, five of these more than four times. Genotype proportions at all loci except Pgm-1 conformed to Hardy-Weinberg expectations. Estimation of allele frequencies in the population used a "round-robin" approach that removed any upward bias for rare alleles that distinguish genets. Based on these allele frequencies, the probability that each genotype could arise independently and be sampled was calculated. Some genotypes represented by widely separated ramets had very low probabilities of re-encounter, documenting fragmentation of widespread genets. Coarse-scale mapping indicated a population consisting of many small genets and a few very large ones (up to 1,015 m across). The larger genets tended to be irregular in shape, fragmented, and overlapping. Fine scale mapping of individual fronds in spatially discrete patches of ramets revealed extensive intergrowth of genets, indicating that P. aquilinum exhibits a "guerrilla_type" clonal morphology.

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