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Conserving marginal populations of the foodplant (Impatiens noli-tangere) of an endangered moth (Eustroma reticulatum) in a changing climate

Hatcher, P. E., Wilkinson, M. J., Albani, M. C. and Hebbern, C. A. (2004) Conserving marginal populations of the foodplant (Impatiens noli-tangere) of an endangered moth (Eustroma reticulatum) in a changing climate. Biological Conservation, 116 (3). pp. 305-317. ISSN 0006-3207

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00200-3


Impatiens noli-tangere is scarce in the UK and probably only native to the Lake District and Wales. It is the sole food plant for the endangered moth Eustroma reticulattum. Significant annual fluctuations in the size of I. noli-tangere populations endanger the continued presence of E. reticulatum in the UK. In this study, variation in population size was monitored across native populations of L noli-tangere in the English Lake District and Wales. In 1998, there was a crash in the population size of all metapopulations in the Lake District but not of those found in Wales. A molecular survey of the genetic affinities of samples in 1999 from both regions and a reference population from Switzerland was performed using AFLP and ISSR analyses. The consensus UPGMA dendrogram and a PCO scatter plot revealed clear differentiation between the populations of L noli-tangere in Wales and those in the Lake District. Most of the genetic variation in the UK (H-T= 0.064) was partitioned between (G(ST) = 0.455) rather than within (H-S = 0.034) regions, inferring little gene flow occurs between regions. There was similar bias towards differentiation between metapopulations in Wales, again consistent with low levels of interpopulation gene flow. This contrasts with far lower levels of differentiation in the Lake District which suggests modest rates of gene flow may occur between populations. It is concluded that in the event of local extinction of sites or populations, reintroductions should be restricted to samples collected from the same region. We then surveyed climatic variables to identify those most likely to cause local extinctions. Climatic correlates of population size were sought from two Lake District metapopulations situated close to a meteorological station. A combination of three climatic variables common to both sites explained 81-84% of the variation in plant number between 1990 and 2001. Projected trends for these climatic variables were used in a Monte Carlo simulation which suggested an increased risk of I. noli-tangere population crashes by 2050 at Coniston Water. but not at Derwentwater. Implications of these findings for practical conservation strategies are explored. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10512
Uncontrolled Keywords:AFLP, climate change, conservation genetics, Eustroma reticulatum, Impatiens noli-tangere, ISSR GENUS IMPATIENS, SEED DORMANCY, HYBRIDIZATION, CONSERVATION, ECOLOGY

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