Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1515–1522 | Cite as

Population genetics of the threatened tree daisy Olearia gardneri (Asteraceae), conservation of a critically endangered species

Research Article


All known populations of the nationally critical tree daisy, Olearia gardneri, were studied using AFLP markers. With fewer than 160 individual plants, Olearia gardneri is the third-rarest tree in New Zealand and a good model with which to study evolutionary process in fragmented endangered plants. Genetic variation was at similar levels to other long-lived tree species in New Zealand and also as in other studies to date had poor correspondence between genetic and geographic distance. Genetic factors such as inbreeding depression and the loss of genetic diversity might lower fitness and have substantial consequences for evolution and survival of rare threatened plants. Due to the decline of this species in recent times it is imperative that conservation measures are undertaken, including revegetation. Despite considerable emphasis on “eco-sourcing” in plant recovery programmes there is strong evidence that this may not be the best strategy for O. gardneri due to breeding system and population size considerations.


Olearia sp. AFLP Reintroduction Parentage analysis Genetic structure 



This study is part of a larger project on conservation genetics of threatened plants in New Zealand funded by the FRST—Outcome-Based Investment: Sustaining and Restoring Biodiversity. Adeline Barnaud was funded through a Walter-Zellidja fellowship of the Académie Française. We are especially grateful to Duckchul Park for help in genetic analyses. Vivienne McGlynn and Graeme La Cock (DoC Palmerston North and Wanganui, respectively) and Tony Silbery (DoC Wellington Region) are acknowledged for their participation in the sampling collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecological Genetics GroupLandcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand
  2. 2.Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa

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