Plant Diversity ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (05): 300-306.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2019.07.001

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Genetic diversity and population structure of Hibiscus aridicola, an endangered ornamental species in dry-hot valleys of Jinsha River

Xin Zhanga,b, Le Zhangb,c, Johann Schinnerld, Wei-Bang Sunb,c, Gao Chenb,c   

  1. a Yunnan Forestry Technological College, Kunming, 650224, China;
    b Yunnan Key Laboratory for Integrative Conservation of Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations, Kunming, 650204, China;
    c CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650204, China;
    d Chemodiversity Research Group, Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, A-1030, Vienna, Austria
  • Received:2019-03-24 Revised:2019-06-30 Online:2019-10-25 Published:2019-11-21
  • Contact: Wei-Bang Sun,E-mail;Gao Chen,E-mail
  • Supported by:
    We are grateful to Gang Wu for his valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Support for this study was provided through grants from the NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China)-Yunnan Joint Funds to support key projects (Grant No. U1302262, No. U1602264), Yunnan Science and Technology Innovation Team Program for PSESP (Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations) Conservation and Utilization (Grant No. 2019HC015), and the Young Academic and Technical Leader Raising Foundation of Yunnan Province (Grant No. 2015HB091).

Abstract: Hibiscus aridicola is an endangered ornamental shrub of the family Malvaceae that is endemic to the dryhot valleys of Jinsha River in southwestern China. This species is a typical plant species with extremely small populations (PSESP). To support and monitor future conservation, develop management measures, and genotype this species, we performed extensive field studies together with genetic analyses. Specifically, we screened eleven microsatellite loci of 69 individuals of H. aridicola from four accessions. The population genetics analyses indicated that H. aridicola possesses high genetic diversity at both the population (0.6962-0.7293) and species level (0.7837) compared to other endemic/endangered species in China. The low differentiation of populations (Fst=0.0971) and the high gene flow between populations of H. aridicola (Nm=2.3236) could be due to its distribution along rivers in the hot-valleys of the Jinsha River and the wind-mediated dispersal of its seeds. Furthermore, the genetic diversity of H. aridicola is slightly positively correlated with geographic distance. Two populations are undergoing a genetic bottleneck, and require more specific attention from conservationists. Additionally, our analyses of the population genetics of H. aridicola demonstrate that the declines in populations are not the result of the internal genetics of these populations but due to external human activities over the past decades.

Key words: Malvaceae, Hibiscus aridicola, Population genetics, Conservation, Endemic species, PSESP