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Open Access Research article

Pollen flow and effects of population structure on selfing rates and female and male reproductive success in fragmented Magnolia stellata populations

Suzuki Setsuko1*, Teruyoshi Nagamitsu1 and Nobuhiro Tomaru2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Forest Genetics, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan

2 Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Physiology, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan

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BMC Ecology 2013, 13:10  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-13-10

Published: 22 March 2013



Fragmentation of plant populations may affect mating patterns and female and male reproductive success. To improve understanding of fragmentation effects on plant reproduction, we investigated the pollen flow patterns in six adjacent local populations of Magnolia stellata, an insect-pollinated, threatened tree species in Japan, and assessed effects of maternal plant (genet) size, local genet density, population size and neighboring population size on female reproductive success (seed production rates), and effects of mating distance, paternal genet size, population size and separation of populations on male reproductive success.


The seed production rate, i.e. the proportion of ovules that successfully turned into seeds, varied between 1.0 and 6.5%, and increased with increasing population size and neighboring population size, and with decreasing maternal genet size and local genet density. The selfing rate varied between 3.6 and 28.9%, and increased with increasing maternal genet size and with declining local genet density. Male reproductive success increased with increasing paternal genet size, and decreased with increasing mating distance and separation of population. Pollen flow between the populations was low (6.1%) and highly leptocurtic.


Our results indicate that habitat fragmentation, separation and reduced size of populations, affected mating patterns and reproductive success of M. stellata. Local competition for pollinators and plant display size were likely to alter the reproductive success.

Conservation; Fragmentation; Gene flow; Geitonogamy; Insect pollination; Landscape; Magnoliaceae; Paternity analysis; Pollen dispersal; Seed production