Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1247–1255 | Cite as

Spatial genetic structure of Coccoloba cereifera (Polygonaceae), a critically endangered microendemic species of Brazilian rupestrian fields

  • Rennan G. Moreira
  • Ross A. McCauley
  • Aurea C. Cortés-Palomec
  • G. Wilson Fernandes
  • Ken Oyama
Research Article


Coccoloba cereifera (Polygonaceae) is an extremely rare endemic shrub found exclusively in the rupestrian fields of Serra do Cipó, southeastern, Brazil. We assessed the genetic diversity and structure across the single occurrence area of C. cereifera. The genetic variation at 13 microsatellite loci was estimated from 139 individuals sampled in nine patches. The number of alleles per locus varied from two to ten; the expected and observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.324 to 0.566 and 0.337 to 0.529, respectively. Microsatellites detected low but statistically significant levels of differentiation among patches (FST = 0.123, RST = 0.105), whereas Mantel test results showed a weak but significant pattern of isolation by distance (r2 = 0.31, P < 0.002). Bayesian clustering indicated two subdivisions connected via admixture. Habitat heterogeneity across the drainage basin of the Rio Indequicé is likely limiting gene flow within patches of the geographically restricted population. While there is currently no evidence for a direct genetic risk to species survival, the apparent natural segregation occurring within the species could be exacerbated by future land use changes and the influx of alien species which could lead to demographic reductions in population size leading to a reduction in genetic diversity and an increase in population subdivision. We suggest that maintaining the integrity of the habitat within the small range of the species and continued monitoring of the effects of alien species would be the wisest use of management resources.


Rupestrian fields Microsatellite Rare Narrow Endemism Trioecy 



We thank K. Paige and T. Holtsford for comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We thank LC Resende for field work and laboratory assistance. This study was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (30.9633/2007-9, 15.1817/2008-1, 306), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (Proc. APQ 01278-08, CRA 495/07) and Planta Tecnologia Ambiental. Permiting to transport biological material from Brazil was granted by the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Renováveis, CITES/FLORA—(license number 07BR000321/DF). This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the masters degree of R.G.M. at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rennan G. Moreira
    • 1
  • Ross A. McCauley
    • 2
    • 3
  • Aurea C. Cortés-Palomec
    • 2
  • G. Wilson Fernandes
    • 1
  • Ken Oyama
    • 2
  1. 1.Ecologia Evolutiva & Biodiversidade/DBGICB/Universidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Centro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMorelia, MichoacánMéxico
  3. 3.Department of BiologyFort Lewis CollegeDurangoUSA

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