Dispersal is crucial due to its direct impact on dynamics of a species’ distribution as well as having a role in shaping adaptive potential through gene flow. In plants forming scarce and small populations, knowledge about the dispersal process is required to assess the potential for colonizing new habitats and connectivity of present and future populations.
Using molecular data and the modelling approach, Chybicki and Oleksa estimate dispersal potential in Taxus baccata (Taxaceae), a dioecious tree with a highly fragmented distribution. They find that yew seeds travel shorter distances than pollen, facilitating a rapid development of a kinship structure within remnants. At the landscape level, however, genetic connectivity between different yew remnants is strongly limited. Taking into account population fragmentation, the study suggests that gene dispersal may constrain the adaptability of yew under climate change.