Estimating anisotropic pollen dispersal: A case study in Quercus lobata

TitleEstimating anisotropic pollen dispersal: A case study in Quercus lobata
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsAusterlitz, F, Dutech, C, Smouse, PE, Davis, FW, Sork, VL
KeywordsQuercus lobata anisotropy gene flow neighbourhood genetic structure TwoGener

The pollen dispersal distribution is an important element of the neighbourhood size of plant populations. Most methods aimed at estimating the dispersal curve assume that pollen dispersal is isotropic, but evidence indicates that this assumption does not hold for many plant species, particularly wind-pollinated species subject to prevailing winds during the pollination season. We propose here a method of detecting anisotropy of pollen dispersal and of gauging its intensity, based on the estimation of the differentiation of maternal pollen clouds (TWOGENER extraction), assuming that pollen dispersal is bivariate and normally distributed. We applied the new method to a case study in Quercus lobata, detecting only a modest level of anisotropy in pollen dispersal in a direction roughly similar to the prevailing wind direction. Finally, we conducted a simulation to explore the conditions under which anisotropy can be detected with this method, and we show that while anisotropy is detectable, in principle, it requires a large volume of data.