Good‐bye to tropical alpine plant giants under warmer climates? Loss of range and genetic diversity in Lobelia rhynchopetalum
An understanding of the patterns of genetic variation within and among populations of plant species is essential for devising optimum genetic management strategies for their conservation. Here, the inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) technique was used to study genetic variation of the Afroalpine giant lobelia, Lobelia rhynchopetalum, based on ten populations sampled from Bale and Simen mountains in Ethiopia. The percentage of polymorphic loci across all samples (P(S)) and within population (Pp) was 78% and 27%, respectively. Regardless of a high total genetic variation, the species has quite low variation within populations. All genetic variation analyses revealed higher variation among populations than within populations (G'(ST)= 0.59, G(ST)=0.63, F(ST)=0.58). Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) that employed 156 ISSR markers revealed significant variations among populations; among the two mountain systems and among the three altitudinal groups (P < 0.001). The implications of these findings are discussed, especially from conservation point of view.