J Syst Evol ›› 2014, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (5): 598-611.doi: 10.1111/jse.12100

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Conservation genetics and breeding system of Penstemon debilis (Plantaginaceae), a rare beardtongue endemic to oil shale talus in western Colorado, USA


  1. 1(Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1293, USA)
    2(Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5305, USA)
    3(Department of Statistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1247, USA)
  • Received:2013-11-05 Online:2014-03-26 Published:2014-05-22

Abstract: Rare species of plants are especially vulnerable to extinction when populations are few, have small numbers of individuals, and are fragmented. Such conditions lead to a reduction in gene flow and genetic diversity, and encourage inbreeding depression. We conducted a study of the reproductive biology and population genetics of Penstemon debilis (Plantaginaceae), a Federally Threatened species endemic to a small region of oil shale extraction in western Colorado, USA. Most of the habitat area is privately owned and undergoing natural gas extraction activities. Penstemon debilis reproduces both vegetatively and as an outcrosser that requires a pollen vector. Moderate levels of inbreeding, but no inbreeding depression, were found within populations of P. debilis. Genetic divergence among the extant populations surveyed was moderate (FST values = 0.069–0.231; Nm = 0.831–3.385) with levels of genetic diversity within populations relatively low compared to congeners with similar modes of pollination and reproductive biology. STRUCTURE analysis revealed three population clusters with some admixture among all extant populations. Genetic diversity within and among P. debilis populations is similar to genetic diversity found for other rare and endemic outcrossing plant species. Our results are consistent with a pattern of recent population fragmentation or low levels of pollen-mediated gene flow among populations in close proximity to one another. Conservation of P. debilis will require cooperative management strategies between private landowners, government agencies, and concerned NGOs to preserve habitat for this rare species.

Key words: edaphic endemic, genetic diversity, habitat fragmentation, microsatellites, Plantaginaceae, pollination, rare plant, reproductive biology.

[1] Francisco Javier Valtueña, Mario Fernández-Mazuecos, Tomás Rodríguez-Riaño, Josefa López and Ana Ortega-Olivencia. Repeated jumps from Northwest Africa to the European continent: The case of peripheral populations of an annual plant . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(4): 487-503.
[2] Rong Li and Juan Yue. A phylogenetic perspective on the evolutionary processes of floristic assemblages within a biodiversity hotspot in eastern Asia . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(4): 413-422.
[3] Richard M. K. Saunders. The evolution of key functional floral traits in the early divergent angiosperm family Annonaceae . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(4): 369-392.
[4] Brent D. Mishler, Robert Guralnick, Pamela S. Soltis, Stephen A. Smith, Douglas E. Soltis, Narayani Barve, Julie M. Allen, and Shawn W. Laffan. Spatial phylogenetics of the North American flora . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(4): 393-405.
[5] Xiao-Chen Yang, Mo-Han Hu and Shuang-Quan Huang. Airborne conifer pollen grains are rarely deposited on stigmas of coflowering insect‐pollinated angiosperms . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(3): 331-338.
[6] Xing-Fu Zhu, Ji-Qin Yang, and Qing-Jun Li. How floral displays affect geitonogamy in an upward foraging bumblebee‐pollinated protandrous plant . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(2): 182-188.
[7] Ying-Ze Xiong, Li-Bing Jia, Chang-Qiu Liu and Shuang-Quan Huang. Effective pollinia transfer by settling moths’ legs in an orchid Habenaria aitchisonii . J Syst Evol, 2020, 58(2): 174-181.
[8] Érica Mangaravite, Thamyres C. da Silveira, Alexander Huamán-Mera, Luiz O. de Oliveira, Alexandra N. Muellner-Riehl, and Jan Schnitzler. Genetic diversity of Cedrela fissilis (Meliaceae) in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest reveals a complex phylogeographic history driven by Quaternary climatic fluctuations . J Syst Evol, 2019, 57(6): 655-669.
[9] Chang-Qiu Liu, Hang Sun. Pollination in Lilium sargentiae (Liliaceae) and the first confirmation of long-tongued hawkmoths as a pollinator niche in Asia . J Syst Evol, 2019, 57(1): 81-88.
[10] Joseph T. Miler, Garry Jolley-Rogers, Brent D. Mishler, and Andrew H. Thornhill. Phylogenetic diversity is a better measure of biodiversity than taxon counting . J Syst Evol, 2018, 56(6): 663-667.
[11] Daniel Spalink, Jocelyn Pender, Marcial Escudero, Andrew L. Hipp, Eric H. Roalson, Julian R. Starr, Marcia J. Waterway, Lynn Bohs, and Kenneth J. Sytsma. The spatial structure of phylogenetic and functional diversity in the United States and Canada: An example using the sedge family (Cyperaceae) . J Syst Evol, 2018, 56(5): 449-465.
[12] Melanie A. Link-Pérez and Shawn W. Laffan. Fern and lycophyte diversity in the Pacific Northwest: Patterns and predictors . J Syst Evol, 2018, 56(5): 498-522.
[13] Zhi-Huan Huang, Wen-Hua Luo, Shi-Xun Huang, Shuang-Quan Huang. Sunbirds serve as major pollinators for various populations of Firmiana kwangsiensis, a tree endemic to South China . J Syst Evol, 2018, 56(3): 243-249.
[14] Lei Huang, Fang-Dong Geng, Jing-Jing Fan, Cheng Xue, Xiao-Yan Zhang, Ju-Qing Kang, Jian-Qiang Zhang, Yi Ren. Genetic diversity and evolutionary history of four closely related Aquilegia species revealed by 10 nuclear gene fragments . J Syst Evol, 2018, 56(2): 129-138.
[15] Hui-Run Huang, Wei Wu, Ji-Xiu Zhang, Ling-Jian Wang, Yong-Ming Yuan, Xue-Jun Ge. A genetic delineation of Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) revealed by specific-locus amplified fragment sequencing . J Syst Evol, 2016, 54(5): 491-501.
Full text



No Suggested Reading articles found!