Restricted pollen flow of Dieffenbachia seguine populations in fragmented and continuous tropical forest

S. Cuartas-Hernández, J. Ñez-Farfán, P. E. Smouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Habitat fragmentation can change the ecological context of populations, rupturing genetic connectivity among them, changing genetic structure, and increasing the loss of genetic diversity. We analyzed mating system and pollen structure in two population fragments and two continuous forest populations of Dieffenbachia seguine (Araceae), an insect-pollinated understory herb in the tropical rain forest of Los Tuxtlas, México, using nine allozyme loci. Mating system analysis indicated almost complete outcrossing but some inbreeding among the adults. Pollen structure analysis indicated highly restricted pollen flow, both within and among populations. We showed that the effective pollination neighborhood was small in all populations, and slightly (though not significantly) smaller in fragments, partially as a consequence of an increase in density of reproductive individuals in those fragments. Using assignment analysis, we showed that all populations were strongly structured, suggesting that pollen and seed flow across the Los Tuxtlas landscape has been spatially restricted, though sufficient to maintain connectedness. Forest fragmentation at Los Tuxtlas has (so far) had limited impact on pollen dynamics, despite the changing ecological context, with reduced pollinator abundance being partially offset by increased flowering density in fragments. Continued outcrossing and limited pollen immigration, coupled with more extensive seed migration, should maintain genetic connectedness in D. seguine, if fragmentation is not further exacerbated by additional deforestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics


  • Los Tuxtlas
  • Mexico
  • TwoGener
  • aroid
  • assignment method
  • mating system


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