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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Rodríguez Rodríguez, Priscila [1], Curbelo, Leticia [2], Sosa Henríquez, Pedro A. [1].

Conservation genetics of the alpine endemic shrub Spartocytisus supranubius from the Canary Islands (Spain).

Spartocytisus supranubius is an endemic shrub to the Tenerife and La Palma Islands (the Canary Islands). It inhabits the upper vegetation zone of both islands, between 1700 and 3000 m a.s.l. It is a dominant species in the Teide National Park in Tenerife while in La Palma is rarer and it can be found in slopes and crevices. However, in last years there has been detected a regression of the distribution and abundance of the species in Tenerife. On the one hand, there is a high herbivory pressure by invasive rabbits in the Teide National Park, which consume both seedlings and juvenile individuals, leading to a significant disruption in age classes and a mortality that seems to have been occurring for a few years. On the other hand, climate change and drought are thought to play an important role in this decline, especially in the southern part of the National Park.
In this study, we aimed to characterize the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of the populations, in order to establish a base for conservation genetics of the species and help to clarify the causes of the impoverishment. For that purpose, we developed 18 specific microsatellite markers and performed population genetic analysis. We genotyped samples across the whole distribution area in the Teide National Park grouped in 18 sampling sites. The genotyping profiles confirmed the tetraploidy of S. supranubius, so we implemented specific algorithms and analysis for tetraploid datasets.
Our preliminary results show that the species harbours high levels of genetic diversity in all the studied sampling sites, with expected heterozygosity values between 0.794 and 0.839. This high genetic diversity could be explained by the tetraploid condition of the species, its reproductive biology or a high population effective size. Moreover, we did not detect significant genetic differences either among the sampling sites or grouping the individuals by altitude ranges or geographic zones of the National Park, meaning that there exists gene flow among the individuals across the entire distribution.
The genetic characterization of S. supranubius in Teide will help to promote conservation actions for the species, as well as a base for future genetic studies. Indeed, there are still uncertainties about this species that should be addressed to unravel the causes of the recent decline. In a near future, we aim to compare experimental plots for the exclusion of herbivores and the analysis of La Palma populations.

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1 - Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Instituto Universitario de Estudios Ambientales y Recursos Naturales (IUNAT), Campus Universitario de Tafira, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, 35017, España
2 - Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Instituto Universitario de Estudios Ambientales y Recursos Naturales (IUNAT), Campus Universitario de Tafira, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, 35017, Spain

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB02, Conservation Biology 2
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 12:45 PM(EDT)
Number: CB02002
Abstract ID:362
Candidate for Awards:None


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