Are current ecological restoration practices capturing natural levels of genetic diversity? A New Zealand case study using AFLP and ISSR data from mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus)
Gemmill, C. E. C., Stevens, M. I., Clarke, A. C., Clarkson, F. M., & Goshorn, M. (2015). Are current ecological restoration practices capturing natural levels of genetic diversity? A New Zealand case study using AFLP and ISSR data from mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus). New Zealand Journal of Ecology.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9275
Sourcing plant species of local provenance (eco-sourcing) has become standard practice in plant community restoration projects. Along with established ecological restoration practices, knowledge of genetic variation in existing and restored forest fragments is important for ensuring the maintenance of natural levels of genetic variation and connectivity (gene flow) among populations. The application of restoration genetics often employs anonymous ‘fingerprinting’ markers in combination with limited sample sizes due to financial constraints. Here, we used two such marker systems, AFLPs and ISSRs, to estimate population-level genetic variation of a frequently used species in restoration projects in New Zealand, māhoe (Melicytus ramiflorus, Violaceae). We examined two rural and two urban forest fragments, as potential local source populations, to determine whether the māhoe population at the recently (re)constructed ecosystem at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park (WNHP), Hamilton, New Zealand reflects the genetic variation observed in these four potential source populations. Both marker systems produced similar results and indicated, even with small population sizes, that levels of genetic variation at WNHP were comparable to in situ populations. However, the AFLPs did provide finer resolution of the population genetic structure than ISSRs. ISSRs, which are less expensive and technically less demanding to generate than AFLPs, may be sufficient for restoration projects where only a broad level of genotypic resolution is required. We recommend the use of AFLPs when species with a high conservation status are being used due to the greater resolution of this technique.
New Zealand Ecological Society
© 2015 New Zealand Ecological Society. Used with permission.