Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Cortes-Palomec, Aurea [1], McCauley, Ross [2].

Conservation genetics of the endemic Chapin Mesa Milkvetch (Astragalus schmolliae C.L. Porter) in southwestern Colorado.

Astragalus schmolliae C.L. Porter (Fabaceae) (known commonly as Schmoll’s Milkvetch or Chapin Mesa Milkvetch) is a rare long-lived perennial herb endemic to pinyon-juniper woodlands with high wildfire frequency centered on Chapin Mesa in southwestern Colorado with a distribution spanning portions of both Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Due to this very restricted range A. schmolliae is categorized as globally imperiled with a rank of G1 and has been recommended for listing as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Population genetic analysis of 13 populations from Chapin Mesa using microsatellites shows a moderate to high level of genetic diversity distributed evenly across the species range independent of site history and current community structure. The species shows a high level of interconnectedness through gene flow likely mediated through pollinator behavior. These findings indicate that at the current time A. schmolliae does not appear to be suffering genetic consequences from small range size and current trends in declining population numbers. Continued decline in population size and occurrence may lead to reductions in genetic diversity, however it appears that life history characteristics of A. schmolliae will be able to buffer these changes for some time into the foreseeable future.

1 - Fort Lewis College, Department of Biology, 1000 Rim Dr., Durango, CO, 81301, USA
2 - Fort Lewis College, Department Of Biology, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango, CO, 81301, United States

rare plants
species conservation.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PCB010
Abstract ID:383
Candidate for Awards:None

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