Spatial genetic structure of an endangered orchid Cypripedium calceolus (Orchidaceae) at a regional scale: limited gene flow in a fragmented landscape

Julita Minasiewicz , Joanna Znaniecka , Marcin Górniak , Adam Kawiński


Plant species that are capable of propagating clonally are expected to be less vulnerable to habitat fragmentation due to their long life span. Cypripedium calceolus L. is a rare, clonal, long-lived orchid species. It has suffered marked decline because of habitat loss and fragmentation and over-collection, yet an IUCN report on this species does not regard fragmentation as a major threat to the species. We applied 13 nuclear microsatellites and cpDNA sequences to identify the patterns of population structure, genetic diversity and connectivity of six remnant local populations of C. calceolus in highly fragmented Gdańsk Pomerania region (N Poland). Despite severe (80%) loss of localities in the studied area we found that the local populations retain high levels of clonal (R 0.86–1) and genetic diversity ( He = 0.572). However, their differentiation is relatively high (FST = 0.132 for nuclear SSR and FST = 0.363 for cpDNA) despite close geographic proximity (0.6–57 km). Bayesian clustering classified populations according to their geographic origin with little admixture. Low genetic connectivity between the remnant populations shows that the current gene flow is too low to serve as a cohesive force in a fragmented habitat, which may impede a quick response to environmental change. The species’ ability to retain ancestral variation may help withstand fragmentation, but in the light of observed extirpation rate it should be rather considered as a factor that only delays local populations’ extinction. This leads to the conclusion that habitat loss and fragmentation should be regarded as a real threat to stability of C. calcelolus populations.
Author Julita Minasiewicz (FB / DPTNC)
Julita Minasiewicz,,
- Department of Plant Taxonomy and Nature Conservation
, Joanna Znaniecka (IFB / IB / DBiotech)
Joanna Znaniecka,,
- Department of Biotechnology
, Marcin Górniak (FB / DME)
Marcin Górniak,,
- Department of Molecular Evolution
, Adam Kawiński (IFB / IB / DBiotech)
Adam Kawiński,,
- Department of Biotechnology
Journal seriesConservation Genetics, ISSN 1566-0621, (A 25 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.55
Keywords in Englishhabitat fragmentation, population differentiation, gen flow, connectivity, nuclear microsatellites, CpDNA, Cypripedium calceolus
ASJC Classification1311 Genetics; 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Languageen angielski
LicenseOther; published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Score (nominal)25
ScoreMinisterial score = 25.0, 24-07-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 0.803; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.025 (2) - 2017=2.126 (5)
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