The 'paradigm of extremes': Extremely low genetic diversity in an extremely narrow endemic species, Coristospermum huteri (Umbelliferae)

Jordi López-Pujol, M. Carmen Martinell, Sergi Massó, Cèsar Blanché, Llorenç Sáez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Low levels of genetic diversity in endemic species are generally attributable to the small size of their populations. This lack of genetic variability will, predictably, be more evident in those species that occur in only one or a very few localities with a total population consisting of a few dozen individuals, or sometimes fewer (i. e. 'extremely narrow endemics', ENEs). We used allozyme electrophoresis to survey the genetic variability of Coristospermum huteri, an endemic species from the island of Majorca (Balearic Islands, W. Mediterranean Basin) with a single natural population of about 100 individuals. As expected, allozyme variability was virtually nil for this species (P = 8.3 %, A = 1.08, He = 0.022), which seems to be a general rule for ENEs (mean He = 0.057). A founder effect associated with a dispersal event from the continent is probably behind the lack of genetic diversity in this highly threatened species. Preservation of the mountain summit where the plant is found (Puig Major) is essential for the survival of C. huteri, and would also guarantee the conservation of other ENEs and rare and threatened species. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Wien.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-446
JournalPlant Systematics and Evolution
Volume299
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Coristospermum huteri
  • Extremely narrow endemics
  • Genetic diversity
  • Islands
  • Threatened

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