Spatially explicit and multi-sourced genetic information is critical for conservation of an endangered plant species, San Diego Thornmint (Acanthomintha ilicifolia)

Type: journal article

Article abstract: San Diego thornmint Acanthomintha ilicifolia (Gray) Gray (Lamiaceae) is a winter herb restricted to San Diego county in the United States and Baja California Norte in Mexico. Historic records document 80 occurrences of this species, with 55 extant occurrences in San Diego County currently known. We compared three measures of genetic variation to inform ongoing conservation efforts: putatively neutral genetic structure revealed from isozyme markers, apparent cytogenetic variation confirmed using flow cytometry, and potentially adaptive morphological variation quantified in a common-garden study. Together, these data indicated that this rare endemic is genetically complex, revealing significant differentiation of neutral and potentially adaptive genetic variation among populations, and possessing at least two cytotypes, sometimes even within the same population. While additional study is required to resolve the extent of potential local adaptation in this species, conservation plans should limit the movement of germplasm among occurrences and monitor populations in order to limit potential long-term impacts to population viability. Given that these findings challenge the canonical model of genetic structure in rare plants (low genetic variation and limited genetic structure), we recommend guidelines to apply genetic information to conservation strategies.

Authors: DeWoody, Jennifer; Rogers, Deborah; Hipkins, Valerie ; Endress, Bryan;

Journal title: Conservation Genetics

Year: 2018

Volume: 19

Number: 4

Notes: Funding provided by the San Diego Association of Governments Environmental Mitigation Program (Grant Agreement #5001964), by the Center for Natural Lands Management, and by a donation from Dr. Hans

Keywords: Acanthomintha ilicifolia; genetic studies; local adaptation; ploidy; population genetic structure;

Species: San Diego thorn-mint


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File owner: San Diego Management and Monitoring Program
DeWoody, Rogers, Hipkins, and Endress. 2018. Conservation Genetics..pdf