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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION, CHARACTERIZATION, AND GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF SUBTROPICAL AND TROPICAL ORNAMENTAL GERMPLASM

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Cycad biodiversity in the Bahama Archipelago and conservation genetics of the Critically Endangered Zamia lucayana (Zamiaceae)

Authors
item Calonje, Michael -
item Meerow, Alan
item Knowles, Lindy -
item Knowles, David -
item Griffith, Patrick -
item Nakamura, Kyoko
item Francisco-Ortega, Javier -

Submitted to: Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2012
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Citation: Calonje, M., Meerow, A.W., Knowles, L., Knowles, D., Griffith, P., Nakamura, K., Francisco-Ortega, J. 2013. Cycad biodiversity in the Bahama Archipelago and conservation genetics of the Critically Endangered Zamia lucayana (Zamiaceae). Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation. Oryx 47:190-198.

Interpretive Summary: There are three species of cycads, important tropical ornamentals, native to the Bahamas Islands. In this paper we presnet an assessment of their conservation status based on extensive field surveys in all the islands where the species are found [Zamia angustifolia (native in Eleuthera), Z. integrifolia (native in Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and New Providence), and Z. lucayana (endemic to Long Island)]. We also analyzed the genetic structure of Z. lucayana using on 15 DNA markers. Zamia angustifolia has the highest conservation concern because of the small number of adult plants present in its restricted habitat, currently a site of extensive housing development. Zamia integrifolia also has a very restricted distribution in Eleuthera and Grand Bahama. It is relatively common in the other islands; although, it is threatened by urban development in New Providence. Zamia lucayana only encompass three populations within a narrow strip occupying a total area of approximately 1 km2. We propose a reassignment of the current conservation status of this species from Endangered to Critically Endangered. The genetic data indicate that the three known populations of Z. lucayana should be considered as a single management unit; however, the data suggests that recent fragmentation has occurred. We propose in situ conservation recommendations. In addition, we collected germplasm for ex situ conservation from 24 populations from all the islands.

Technical Abstract: A conservation assessment for the three species of cycads native to the Bahamas Islands is presented. Results are based on extensive field surveys in all the islands where these species are found [Zamia angustifolia (native in Eleuthera), Z. integrifolia (native in Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and New Providence), and Z. lucayana (endemic to Long Island)]. We assessed the genetic structure of Z. lucayana based on 15 polymorphic microsatellite DNA loci. Zamia angustifolia has the highest conservation concern because of the small number of adult plants present, its restricted habitat distribution, and extensive housing development occurring within its habitat. Zamia integrifolia also has a very restricted distribution in Eleuthera and Grand Bahama. It is relatively common in the other islands; although, it is threatened by urban development in New Providence. Zamia lucayana only encompass three populations within a narrow strip occupying a total area of approximately 1 km2. We propose a reassignment of the current conservation status of this species from Endangered to Critically Endangered. The genetic data indicate that the three known populations of Z. lucayana should be considered as a single management unit; however, the high number of private alleles suggests that genetic drift, indicative of recent fragmentation, is progressing. We propose in situ conservation recommendations. In addition, we collected germplasm for ex situ conservation from 24 populations from all the islands.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014