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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Weekley, Carl W. [1], Smith, Stacy A. [2], Menges, E.S. [2].

Demographic and genetic evaluation of initial translocation success in Ziziphus celata, a narrowly endemic Florida shrub.

Translocation is a necessary component in the recovery strategy for many imperiled species. However, long-term demographic and genetic evaluation of translocation success is rare. Ziziphus celata is a self-incompatible and genetically depauperate shrub known only from cattle pastures and fire-suppressed sandhills in two central Florida counties. Most populations are uniclonal and self-sterile. Restoring viable populations of Z. celata requires introducing genetically diverse, cross-compatible mating types to protected areas. A multi-genotype ex situ population provides seeds and seedlings for translocations. Since 2002, we have implemented six projects encompassing 664 transplants and 5,298 seeds. Translocations include three genetic augmentations of previously uniclonal populations and three multi-genotype introductions to new sites within the speciesí range. To evaluate the success of our translocations, we compared survival and relative growth rates of transplants to plants in wild populations, monitored seed germination and seedling survival, and compared survival among transplants of known maternal genotype. We also monitored resprouting rates of transplants top-killed by fire. Transplants outperformed seeds as effective propagules in all translocations. Although seed introduction was more cost effective and less labor intensive than transplants, low rates of germination (<5%) and cumulative seedling survival (generally <30%) were weaknesses. Annual transplant survival (mean 87.5%) was generally equal to annual survival of wild plants (mean 88.7%). Relative transplant growth rates were comparable to wild populations. Cumulative survival rates showed variation among transplants differing in maternal genotype, but were >60%. There was no loss of genetic diversity among transplants representing the original wild populations. Postburn resprouting by transplants was slightly higher than among wild plants (91.4 vs. 86.7%), despite their small aboveground size, suggesting transplants had accumulated significant belowground reserves. Translocations of Z. celata show initial demographic and genetic success, but ultimately success depends on fruit production and seedling establishment. Integrated genetic and demographic monitoring, along with comparisons to benchmarks from wild populations, provides depth and context to evaluations of translocation success.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Florida ziziphus research and conservation

1 - Archbold Biological Station, Plant Ecology Lab, P.O. Box 2057, Lake Placid, Florida, 33862, USA
2 - Archbold Biological Station, Plant Ecology Lab, PO Box 2057, Lake Placid, FL, 33862, USA

Florida ziziphus
species recovery
Endangered species
Lake Wales Ridge.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Hall A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB001
Abstract ID:182

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