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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322977

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

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Botanic garden genetics: comparison of two cyacad conservation collections

Author
item Griffith, Patrick - Montgomery Botanical Center
item Meerow, Alan
item Calonje, Michael - Montgomery Botanical Center
item Sanchez, Vanessa
item Hird, Abby - Botanic Garden
item Magellan, Tracy - Montgomery Botanical Center
item Knowles, Lindy - Bahamas National Trust
item Fransisco-ortega, Javier - Florida International University

Submitted to: Botany
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/5/2015
Publication Date: 8/2/2016
Citation: Griffith, P., Meerow, A.W., Calonje, M., Sanchez, V., Hird, A., Magellan, T., Knowles, L., Fransisco-Ortega, J. 2016. Botanic garden genetics: comparison of two cyacad conservation collections. Botany.

Interpretive Summary: Genetic data can guide the management of plant conservation collections. Comparing an off-site collection’s genetic diversity, measured against wild plant populations, offers insight for conservation efforts. Here we present a carefully chosen case study, Zamia lucayana, selected for its contrasts with a previous model for this type of assessment, Z. decumbens. These two species provide many comparisons, including: (1) longer vs. shorter generation times, (2) annual, abundant seed production vs. infrequent, irregular seed production; (3) one continuous population vs. several broadly separated populations; and (4) ca. 1,000 existing plants vs. no more than 600. In line with these biological differences, structured off site collections of Zamia lucayana capture more genetic diversity (244 off site plants capture 94% of wild population alleles) than similar collections for Z. decumbens (205 plants capture 77% of wild plant alleles). Systematic comparisons of the genetic data between these case studies provide basic recommendations. Foremost, careful consideration of the target species is essential when planning for capture of genetic diversity. Differences in species, accessions, populations, and timing all play a role in collection sampling strategy. For example, these data suggest that slow-maturing, infrequently coning species will require sampling in multiple years, whereas species with faster, frequent, and more abundant reproduction may not. Integrating this type of precise off site conservation assessment with in habitat management, monitoring, and community outreach can "close the loop," ensuring these living treasures do not go extinct.

Technical Abstract: Genetic data can guide the management of plant conservation collections. Direct assay of an ex situ collection’s genetic diversity, measured against wild plant populations, offers insight for conservation efforts. Here we present a carefully chosen case study, Zamia lucayana, selected for its contrasts with a previous model for this type of assessment, Z. decumbens. These two species provide many comparisons, including: (1) longer vs. shorter generation times, (2) annual, abundant seed production vs. infrequent, irregular seed production; (3) one continuous population vs. several disjunct populations; and (4) ca. 1,000 extant plants vs. no more than 600. In line with these biological differences, structured ex situ collections of Zamia lucayana capture more genetic diversity (244 ex situ plants capture 94% of in situ alleles) than similar collections for Z. decumbens (205 plants capture 77% of in situ alleles). Systematic comparisons of the genetic data between these case studies provide basic recommendations. Foremost, careful consideration of the target species is essential when planning for capture of genetic diversity. Differences in species, accessions, populations, and timing all play a role in collection sampling strategy. For example, these data suggest that slow-maturing, infrequently coning species will require sampling in multiple years, whereas species with faster, frequent, and more abundant reproduction may not. Integrating this type of precise ex situ conservation assessment with in situ management, monitoring, and community outreach can "close the loop," ensuring these living treasures do not go extinct.