Genetic assessment of population restorations of the critically endangered Silene hifacensis in the Iberian Peninsula

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Title: Genetic assessment of population restorations of the critically endangered Silene hifacensis in the Iberian Peninsula
Authors: Alonso-Vargas, M. Angeles | Guilló Recuerda, Ana | Pérez Botella, Joan | Crespo, Manuel B. | Juan, Ana
Research Group/s: Botánica y Conservación Vegetal
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ciencias Ambientales y Recursos Naturales | Universidad de Alicante. Centro Iberoamericano de la Biodiversidad
Keywords: AFLP | Conservation | Endangered species | Mediterranean endemics | Restoration genetics | Silene
Knowledge Area: Botánica
Issue Date: Dec-2014
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal for Nature Conservation. 2014, 22(6): 532-538. doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2014.08.007
Abstract: In order to preserve endangered plant populations and recover their evolutionary potential and ecological behavior, some restoration measures generally involve the reinforcement of the population size in existing natural populations or the reintroduction of new populations. Genetic monitoring of both natural and restored populations can provide an assessment of restoration protocol success in establishing populations that maintain levels of genetic diversity similar to those in natural populations. The highly threatened Spanish species Silene hifacensis (Caryophyllaceae) has only three natural reduced mainland populations in the Iberian Peninsula, following decline and extinction that occurred during the late 20th century. Preterit restoration strategies were essentially based on the implantation of new populations and reinforcement of certain existing populations using transplants mostly cultivated in greenhouses. In the present contribution, levels and patterns of genetic variability within natural and restored populations of Silene hifacensis were assessed using the molecular technique AFLP. Our results pointed out significant genetic diversity differences across the three existing natural populations though their population fragmentation and progressive loss of individuals have not had an impact on the global genetic diversity of this species. For restored populations, their levels of genetic diversity were similar and even higher than in natural populations. As a result, the past restoration protocols were successful in capturing similar and even higher levels of genetic diversity than those observed within natural pools. However, inbreeding processes have been detected for two restored populations. Finally, the main source of plant material for the long-time restored transplants appears to be the natural population of Cova de les Cendres. This study demonstrates, once again, how genetic markers are useful tools to be taken in consideration for endangered plant species conservation plans.
Sponsor: Work was supported by the project CONSELLERIATERRITORIO4-06i (Conselleria de Territori i Habitage, Generalitat Valenciana).
ISSN: 1617-1381 (Print) | 1618-1093 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnc.2014.08.007
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Peer Review: si
Publisher version:
Appears in Collections:INV - BotCoVe - Artículos de Revistas

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