Genetic diversity in the endangered tropical tree, Guaiacum sanctum (Zygophyllaceae)

Fragmentation of tropical forests has changed continuous tropical landscapes into a network of poorly connected fragments, reducing population sizes and potentially increasing genetic isolation. This study quantifies genetic diversity within and among the 7 extant populations of the endangered tropi...

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Main Authors: Fuchs Castillo, Eric J., Hamrick, James L.
Format: Artículo
Language: Inglés
Published: 2019
Subjects:
Online Access: https://hdl.handle.net/10669/79004
Summary: Fragmentation of tropical forests has changed continuous tropical landscapes into a network of poorly connected fragments, reducing population sizes and potentially increasing genetic isolation. This study quantifies genetic diversity within and among the 7 extant populations of the endangered tropical tree Guaiacum sanctum in Costa Rica. We describe how genetic diversity differs between populations representing continuous and fragmented habitats. Allozyme analyses were conducted on adult samples from populations representing 2 geographic regions in northwestern Costa Rica. We found high levels of genetic diversity within the species (Hes = 0.329) and significant but relatively small differences in allele frequencies among populations (GST = 0.101) and between regions (GST = 0.053). We found no differences in genetic diversity between fragmented and continuous populations. Evidence for significant isolation-by-distance (IBD) was seen only when all populations were analyzed. If populations within the 2 regions were analyzed separately, IBD ceased to be significant. Our results suggest that the patterns of genetic diversity observed for G. sanctum may be caused by the ancient separation of populations into 2 disjunct geographic regions with extensive historical rates of gene flow among populations within each region. Recent forest fragmentation has not yet affected patterns of genetic diversity in this species.