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Mating Structure and Inbreeding and Outbreeding Depression in the Rare Plant Gentianella germanica (Gentianaceae)

Markus Fischer and Diethart Matthies
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 84, No. 12 (Dec., 1997), pp. 1685-1692
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2446466
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.
Mating Structure and Inbreeding and Outbreeding Depression in the Rare Plant Gentianella germanica (Gentianaceae)
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Abstract

Isolation and small size of populations as a result of habitat destruction and fragmentation may negatively affect plant fitness through pollinator limitation and increased levels of inbreeding. To increase genetic variation in small populations of rare plants artificial gene flow has been suggested as a management tool. We investigated whether pollinator limitation and inbreeding depression could reduce fitness in Gentianella germanica, an endangered biennial of increasingly fragmented calcareous grasslands in Central Europe. We experimentally excluded pollinators and generated progenies by hand-pollinating flowers with pollen from different distances. G. germanica was highly selfing. Pollinator exclusion strongly reduced seed set, indicating that pollinator limitation could potentially reduce plant fitness. Germination rate as well as number of leaves and rosette size of progeny from 10-m crosses was higher than that of progeny from open pollinations, self-, 1-m, and interpopulation crosses. After 6 mo of growth differences in the number of surviving plants persisted, whereas differences in plant size did not. The results suggest that inbreeding depression may reduce plant performance in G. germanica. Outbreeding depression in the performance of progeny from interpopulation crosses indicates that caution is necessary in using artificial interpopulation gene flow as a management tool.

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