The fewer and the better: prioritization of populations for conservation under limited resources, a genetic study with Borderea pyrenaica (Dioscoreaceae) in the Pyrenean National Park

Abstract

Taxa considered under low International Union for the Conservation of Nature categories of extinction risk often represent cases of concern to conservation biology. Their high relative abundance precludes management of the entire range due to limited economical resources. Therefore, they require a cost-effective management plan. Borderea pyrenaica (Dioscoreaceae), an endemic plant of the Central Pyrenees and pre-Pyrenees, reaches the French side of the Central Pyrenees on its narrow northernmost boundary at Gavarnie (Parc National des Pyrenées, PNP, France), where it is protected as Vulnerable and considered a priority species. We have used nuclear microsatellite population genetic data to design a management strategy for the 11 populations of B. pyrenaica present in this area and to identify Relevant Genetic Units for its Conservation. The 18 SSR loci analysed identified 56 alleles, 24 of which fulfilled the rarity criterion for this set of populations. Genetic structuring of populations and representativity values derived from regression analyses of probabilities of loss of rare alleles together support differentiation of the B. pyrenaica populations into different management units. Estimates derived from G ST values indicate that five populations would adequately represent the 99.9% of the variation relative to most common alleles whereas calculations based on representativity values indicated that these five populations should equate the proportion 2:2:1 from the three different phylogeographical subdivisions of Gavarnie (Western, Eastern-1 and Eastern-2 ranges). This scheme would allow the preservation of 98.21% of the total B. pyrenaica alleles present in Gavarnie, according to the post glacial history of its populations. This conservation genetic approach could be applied to other low-extinction risk categories of extremely rare and subalpine plants in need of regulatory plans in European National Parks and Natural Reserves.

DOI: 10.1007/s10709-009-9427-2

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Cite this paper

@article{SegarraMoragues2009TheFA, title={The fewer and the better: prioritization of populations for conservation under limited resources, a genetic study with Borderea pyrenaica (Dioscoreaceae) in the Pyrenean National Park}, author={Jos{\'e} Gabriel Segarra-Moragues and Patricio A. Catal{\'a}n}, journal={Genetica}, year={2009}, volume={138}, pages={363-376} }