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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Bridgens, Rachel [1].

Importance of genetic analysis in the conservation of threatened Hawaiian plant species.

Native Hawaiian flora represent the rich biodiversity available within oceanic archipelagos, but their characteristically small populations make these insular plants especially vulnerable to many threats. These include herbivory, habitat destruction, population fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change. The Hawaiian Islands face the devastating impacts of biodiversity loss as exemplified by its substantial proportion of federally listed endangered species. In situ and ex situ conservation efforts have been implemented to remedy the population loss of many key Hawaiian plant species. Success of in situ preservation via outplantings into the native habitat is often difficult to foster as survival is contingent on the suitability of the habitat and requires heavy surveillance and intervention. In contrast, ex situ conservation methods can often supplement in situ efforts by maintaining individuals in seed banks, greenhouses, cryobanks, and in-vitro to allow efficient storage until suitable habitats can be located. Understanding the genetic composition of remaining individuals is imperative to informing ex situ collections. As population sizes rapidly decline, diversity is typically quick to follow. Genetic variation is often critical for populations to survive in island systems that have been heavily impacted by the current climate crisis. With limited available funding, it is valuable to ascertain levels of genetic diversity remaining within populations of a given species so that appropriate resources can be allocated to the collection and storage of adequate genetic representation that can be applied to future reintroduction efforts. One example, the Hawaiian endemic shrub Gardenia brighamii, is limited to 14 known individuals remaining on the islands of Lanai and Oahu. Leaf tissue collected from ex situ individuals at Lyon Arboretum represented two populations in Lanai. DNA was extracted from these individuals and fragments were amplified using 10 microsatellite primers. Preliminary microsatellite data suggests that these remaining individuals are inbred with very little diversity overall. More comprehensive primers like Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs) might provide a deeper look into the variation available in the remaining individuals of G. brighamii. The genetic diversity of this and other critically endangered Hawaiian species are now being examined with microsatellite primers and AFLPs to assist in their conservation efforts moving forward. This research was funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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1 - University Of Cincinnati, 703 Rieveschl Hall , 318 College Dr. , Cincinnati, OH, 45221, United States

Hawaiian Islands

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB02, Conservation Biology 2
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 1:15 PM(EDT)
Number: CB02004
Abstract ID:976
Candidate for Awards:None

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