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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #302734

Research Project: Genetic Characterization, Genetic Improvement, and Best Horticultural Management Practices for Subtropical/Tropical Ornamental Germplasm

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Conservation and genetics of two critically endangered Hispaniolan palms-genetic erosion of Pseudophoenix lediniana in contrast to P. ekmanii

Author
item Rodriguez-pena, Rosa - Florida International University
item Jestrow, Brett - Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
item Cinea, William - Jardín Botánico Nacional
item Veloz, Alberto - National Botanical Garden
item Jimenez-rodriguez, Francisco - National Botanical Garden
item Garcia, Ricardo - National Botanical Garden
item Meerow, Alan
item Griffith, Patrick - Montgomery Botanical Center
item Maunder, Michael - Florida International University
item Francisco-ortega, Javier - Florida International University

Submitted to: Plant Systematics and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2014
Publication Date: 3/25/2014
Citation: Rodriguez-Pena, R.A., Jestrow, B., Cinea, W., Veloz, A., Jimenez-Rodriguez, F., Garcia, R., Meerow, A.W., Griffith, P., Maunder, M., Francisco-Ortega, J. 2014. Conservation and genetics of two critically endangered Hispaniolan palms-genetic erosion of Pseudophoenix lediniana in contrast to P. ekmanii. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 300: 2019-2027..

Interpretive Summary: The palm species Pseudophoenix ekmanii (endemic to the Dominican Republic) and P.lediniana (endemic to Haiti) are the only Critically Endangered species (sensu IUCN) of the genus. In this paper we present results of recent field research and population genetic studies targeting P. lediniana, one of three species of palms found only in Haiti. Our study confirmed that wild plants of P. lediniana are restricted to a single population found along almost inaccessible and unstable limestone cliffs along a ravine in southern Haiti, near Jacmel in the Province of Ouest. The population is composed of six fragments with approximately 71 adults and 2 juveniles. No seedlings were located, and the population is under severe extinction threat because of landslides during the raining season, massive forest clearance and burns for charcoal extraction and cropping of subsistence staple crops. Seven DNA microsatellite markers were used to generate estimates of genetic variation of this species. We sampled approximately one third of all the wild plants (21 individuals). Only four of these markers were variable and population genetic statistics showed that the population is highly inbred. These results for P. lediniana were compared with those previously published for P. ekmanii. The latter species is officially protected in a national park and has several populations, most of them with a higher number of individuals. Genetic variation was much lower in P. ledinana than in P. ekmanii. Differences concerning official in-situ conservation protection and population size might explain differences for levels of genetic variation between these two Critically Endangered species. We propose ex situ and in situ strategies for conservation. Germplasm has already been collected for future conservation initiatives.

Technical Abstract: The palm species Pseudophoenix ekmanii (endemic to the Dominican Republic) and P. lediniana (endemic to Haiti) are the only Critically Endangered species (sensu IUCN) of the genus. In here we present results of recent field research and population genetic studies targeting P. lediniana. This is one of three species of palms endemic in Haiti. Our study confirmed that wild plants of P. lediniana are restricted to a single population found along almost inaccessible and unstable limestone cliffs along a ravine in southern Haiti, near Jacmel in the Province of Ouest. The population is composed of six fragments with approximately 71 adults and 2 juveniles. No seedlings were located, and the population is under severe extinction threat because of landslides during the raining season, massive forest clearance and burns for charcoal extraction and cropping of subsistence staple crops. Seven DNA microsatellite (SSR) loci were used to generate estimates of genetic variation of this species. We sampled approximately one third of all the wild plants (21 individuals). Only four of these SSR loci were polymorphic and population genetic coefficients showed that the population is highly inbred. Population genetics results for P. lediniana were compared with those previously published for P. ekmanii. Levels of genetic variation measured as number of polymorphic loci and observed Heterozygosity were much lower in P. ledinana than in P. ekmanii. The latter species is officially protected in a national park and has several populations, most of them with a higher number of individuals. Differences concerning official in-situ conservation protection and population size might explain differences for levels of genetic variation between these two Critically Endangered species. We propose ex situ and in situ strategies for conservation. Germplasm has already been collected for future conservation initiatives.