Molecular biodiversity in the moss Leptodon smithii (Neckeraceae) in relation to habitat disturbance and fragmentation.J Plant Res. 2007 Sep; 120(5):595-604.JP
Bryophytes seem particularly suitable to investigate genetic diversity in relation to habitat disturbance due to their large employment as bioindicators and to the recent application of molecular markers to moss population studies. Genetic variation and structure were analysed in seven urban, extraurban and remote populations of Leptodon smithii, an epiphytic moss of Quercus ilex, a phanerogamic species of Mediterranean climax vegetation. A total of 210 individual shoots were DNA extracted and amplified with internal simple sequence repeat (ISSR) primers, and 54 haplotypes were identified. An uneven distribution of haplotype number and frequencies was observed among sites, with a higher number of haplotypes and more homogeneous haplotype frequencies in the extraurban/remote populations. Molecular diversity indices were overall higher in the extraurban sites than in the urban ones. Multilocus linkage disequilibrium values were in line with the occurrence of sexual/asexual reproduction in the seven populations. The isolation-by-distance model was not supported by Mantel test among sites; however, within-population fixation index (F(ST)) highlighted a clear relation between genetic and physic distances among trees, suggesting a limited dispersal range for L. smithii's spores. The genetic structure was mainly affected by population size, wood structure and extent, and genetic drift consequent to habitat fragmentation and human-induced disturbance.