Discovery Magazine

Photo Credit: Cheryl Peterson

Karyotyping and Population Genetic Analysis of Lupinus aridorum using Microsatellites

The Scrub Lupine (Lupinus aridorum) is a federally and state listed endangered plant found only in Orange and Polk Counties in Florida. The species has decreased steadily in numbers of individuals and populations throughout their distribution from 45 populations in 2002 to only 8 in 2009. Thus, understanding the effects of this decline on the population of this species can provide valuable information for conservation efforts. In association with Bok Tower Gardens, we are studying the population genetics of the remaining populations and those that have been reintroduced.

Objectives: Three main objectives of this proposed project were chosen to gain an understanding of the population genetic diversity remaining within the species and its distribution, to determine ploidy levels within species and between populations, and to update the 2012 status of the populations. The three objectives are: 1)Update the 2012 population status and collect samples during surveys. 2) Karyotype populations 3) Analyze population genetic diversity within and among populations using nuclear microsatellite loci.

Expected Results and Benefits:
This project addresses the Recovery Plan objective of conducting population genetic studies (3.1), which is considered essential to prevent the extinction of Scrub Lupine (USFWS 2007).

The status update data of all extant populations will help identify trends in population loss and size.  An assessment of the population genetic structure and genetic diversity of plants will provide valuable information for the management of Scrub Lupine, especially for extinction risk, cultivation and reintroduction. We will identify the best populations for crossing to minimize the possible effects of outbreeding and to maximize the genetic diversity in introduced populations. Effective population size estimates will be useful for future population viability analyses.