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Abstract Detail


Ellwanger, Claire [1], Steger, Laura [2], Fant, Jeremie [2].

Genetic assessment of management and restoration practices of the federally threatened orchid, Platanthera leucophaea (The eastern prairie fringed orchid).

For species at risk of extinction, successful execution of recovery plans based on proven restoration and management techniques are their last chance at continued survival. Platanthera leucophaea is a federally threatened species which has experienced major habitat loss and decline in both population size and number. Current management practices include hand pollination of flowers to increase seed set and seed dispersal between neighboring populations to prevent inbreeding. We are investigating genetic patterns and change in this species, which has documentation for over twenty years of management. A comparison of DNA samples collected prior to the start of new management techniques (1998) and samples collected in the current day (2015) will measure the impact of 17 years of management. In addition, we have genotyped 32 populations across the range of the species to evaluate the extent of long distance pollen dispersal by its pollinators (hawkmoths) and identify areas within the range of conservation priority. These data are paired with measurements of fruit set and seed viability at specific populations to look for evidence of inbreeding depression at these sites. To assess the impact of population loss, we have also sampled over 100 herbarium specimens from the late 1800s to mid-1900s. This comparison of genetic rescue techniques and range-wide study with historic context offers the rare opportunity to assess a long history of well documented restoration and management that is widely applicable to other species facing reduced reproductive success in isolated habitats.

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Related Links:
Public outreach piece for the US Fish and Wildlife Service/SCA

1 - Chicago Botanic Garden/Northwestern University, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL, 60022, United States
2 - Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL, 60022, United States

endangered species
Conservation genetics
herbarium specimen DNA extraction
population genetics
Genetic rescue.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 11, Genetics
Location: 105/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: 11004
Abstract ID:579
Candidate for Awards:Margaret Menzel Award

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