Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 2027–2038 | Cite as

Conservation genetic inferences in the carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia alata (Sarraceniaceae)

Research Article


Conservation geneticists make inferences about their focal species from genetic data, and then use these inferences to inform conservation decisions. Since different biological processes can produce similar patterns of genetic diversity, we advocate an approach to data analysis that considers the full range of evolutionary forces and attempts to evaluate their relative contributions in an objective manner. Here we collect data from microsatellites and chloroplast loci and use these data to explore models of historical demography in the carnivorous Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia alata. Findings indicate that populations of S. alata exhibit high degrees of population genetic structure, likely caused by dispersal limitation, and that population sizes have decreased in western populations and increased in eastern populations. These results provide new insight to the management and conservation of plants restricted to small, declining populations isolated in increasingly scarce and highly threatened habitat, including other rare and endangered species of Sarracenia.


Information theory Historical demography Pine savannah Phylogeography Sarracenia 


  1. Akaike H (1973) Information theory as an extension of the maximum likelihood principle. In Kotz S, Johnson NL (eds) Breakthroughs in statistics, vol 1. Springer-Verlag, London, pp 610–624Google Scholar
  2. Al-Rabab’ah MA, Williams GC (2002) Population dynamics of Pinus taeda L. based on nuclear microsatellites. For Ecol Manag 163:263–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson DR (2008) Model based inference in the life sciences. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baer CF (1999) Among-locus variation in Fst: fish, allozymes and the Lewontin–Krakauer test revisited. Genetics 152:653–659PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Barker NG, Williamson GB (1988) Effects of a winter fire on Sarracenia alata and S. psittacina. Am J Bot 75:138–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bayer RJ, Hufford L, Soltis DE (1996) Phylogenetic relationships in Sarraceniaceae based on rbcL and ITS sequences. Syst Bot 21:121–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beaumont MA (2005) Adaptation and speciation: what can Fst tell us? Trends Ecol Evol 20:435–440CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Beerli P (2006) Comparison of Bayesian and maximum likelihood inference of population genetic parameters. Bioinformatics 22:341–345CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Beerli P, Felsenstein J (2001) Maximum likelihood estimation of a migration matrix and effective population sizes in n subpopulations using a coalescent approach. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:4563–4568CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Breed MD, McGlynn TP, Sanctuary MD, Stocker EM, Cruz R (1999) Distribution and abundance of colonies of selected meliponine species in a Costa Rican tropical wet forest. J Trop Ecol 15:765–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brewer JS (2005) The lack of favorable responses of an endangered pitcher plant to habitat restoration. Restor Ecol 13:710–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burbrink FT, Fontanella F, Pyron RA, Guiher TJ, Jimenez C (2008) Phylogeography across a continent: the evolutionary and demographic history of the North American Racer (Serpentes Colubridae: Coluber constrictor). Mol Phylogenet Evol 47:274–288CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (1998) Model Selection and inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Carstens BC, Stoute HN, Reid NM (2009) An information-theoretic approach to phylogeography. Mol Ecol 18:4270–4282CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Cornuet JM, Luikart G (1996) Description and power analysis of two tests for detecting recent population bottlenecks from allele frequency data. Genetics 144:2001–2014PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Dyer R (2009) GeneticStudio: a suite of programs for spatial analysis of genetic-marker data. Mol Ecol Resour 9:110–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ellegren H (2000) Microsatellite mutations in the germline: implications for evolutionary inference. Trends Genet 16:551–558CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellison AM, Gotelli NJ (2001) Evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants. Trend Ecol Evol 16:623–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ellison AM, Parker JN (2002) Seed dispersal and seedling establishment of Sarracenia purpurea (Sarraceniaceae). Am J Bot 89:1024–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Evanno G, Regnaut S, Goudet J (2005) Detecting the number of clusters of individuals using the software structure: a simulation study. Mol Ecol 14:2611–2620CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Felsenstein J (1985) Confidence limits on phylogenies: an approach using the bootstrap. Evolution 39:783–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fischer J, Lindernmayer DB (2007) Landscape modification and habitat fragmentation: a synthesis. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 16:265–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fisk HN (1944) In: Engineers USACo (ed) Geological investigation of the alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi River. Mississippi River Commission, Vicksburg, MSGoogle Scholar
  24. Fisk HN (1947) In: Engineers USACo (ed) Fine grained alluvial deposits and their effects on Mississippi River activity. Mississippi River Commission, Vickburg, MSGoogle Scholar
  25. Foley JA, DeFries R, Asner GP, Barford C, Bonan G, Carpenter SR, Chapin FS, Coe MT, Daily GC, Gibbs HK, Helkowski JH, Holloway T, Howard EA, Kucharik CJ, Monfreda C, Patz JA, Prentice IC, Ramankutty N, Snyder PK (2005) Global consequences of land use. Science 309:570–574CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Folkerts GW (1982) The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. Am Sci 70:260–267Google Scholar
  27. Fu YX (1997) Statistical tests of neutrality of mutations against population growth, hitchhiking and background selection. Genetics 147:915–925PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Godt MJW, Hamrick JL (1998) Allozyme diversity in the endangered pitcher plant Sarracenia rubra ssp. alabamensis (Sarraceniaceae) and its close relative S. rubra ssp. rubra. Am J Bot 85:802–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gomez B, Mertes LAK, Phillips JD, Magilligan FJ, James LA (1995) Sediment characteristics of an extreme flood: 1993 upper Mississippi River valley. Geology 23:963–966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hahn MW, Rausher MD, Cunningham CW (2002) Distinguishing between selection and population expansion in an experimental lineage of bacteriophage T7. Genetics 161:11–20PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Haila Y (2002) A conceptual genealogy of fragmentation research: from island biogeography to landscape ecology. Ecol Appl 12:321–334Google Scholar
  32. Hey J, Nielsen R (2004) Multilocus methods for estimating population sizes, migration rates, and divergence times, with applications to the divergence of Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis. Genetics 167:747–760CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hey J, Nielsen R (2007) Integration within the Felsenstein equation or improved Markov chain Monte Carlo methods in population genetics. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:2785–2790CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Hobbs RJ, Yates CJ (2003) Impacts of ecosystem fragmentation on plant populations: generalising the idiosyncratic. Aust J Bot 51:471–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Huelsenbeck JP, Huelsenbeck ET, Andolfatto P (2007) Structurama: Bayesian inference of population structure. Bioinformatics (in press)Google Scholar
  36. Jensen JL, Bohonak AJ, Kelley STBGv (2005) Isolation by distance, web service. BMC Genet 6:13CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Keddy PA, Smith L, Campbell DR, Clark M, Montz G (2006) Patterns of herbaceous plant diversity in southeastern Louisiana pine savannas. Appl Veg Sci 9:17–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kliman RM, Andolfatto P, Coyne JA, Depaulis F, Kreitman M, Berry AJ, McCarter J, Wakeley J, Hey J (2000) The population genetics of the origin and divergence of the Drosophila simulans complex species. Genetics 156:1913–1931PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Koopman MM, Gallagher E, Carstens B, Consortium MERPD (2009) Isolation and characterization of nine microsatellite loci in the Pale Pitcher Plant Sarracenia alata (Sarraceniaceae). Mol Ecol Resour 9:1460–1466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kreyer D, Oed AA, Walther-Hellwig K, Frankl R (2004) Are forests potential landscape barriers for foraging bublebees? Landscape scale experiments with Bombus terrestris agg. and Bombus pascuaorum (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Biol Conserv 116:111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kuhner MK (2006) LAMARC 2.0: maximum likelihood and Bayesian estimation of population parameters. Bioinformatics 22:768–770CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Lewontin RC, Krakauer J (1973) Distribution of gene frequency as a test of theory of selective neutrality of polymorphisms. Genetics 74:175–195PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Librado P, Rozas J (2009) DnaSP v5: a software for comprehensive analysis of DNA polymorphism data. Bioinformatics 25:1451–1452CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Machado CA, Hey J (2003) The causes of phylogenetic conflict in a classic Drosophila species group. Proc R Soc Lond B 270:1193–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. MacRoberts MH, MacRoberts BR (1991) The distribution of Sarracenia in Louisiana, with data on its abundance in the western part of the state. Phytologia 70:119–125Google Scholar
  46. MacRoberts BR, MacRoberts MH, Stacey L (2001) Florisitcs and management of pitcher plant bogs in northern Natchitoches and Winn Parishes, Louisiana. Proc La Acad Sci 64:14–21Google Scholar
  47. Mantel N (1967) The detection of disease clustering and a generalized regression approach. Cancer Res 27:209–220PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Marriage TN, Hudman S, Mort EM, Orive ME, Shaw RG, Kelly JK (2009) Direct estimation of the mutation rate at dinucleotide microsatellite loci in Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae). Heredity 103:310–317CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. McDaniel S (1971) The genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). Bull Tall Timbers Res Stat 9:36Google Scholar
  50. Minin V, Abdo Z, Joyce P, Sullivan J (2003) Performance-based selection of likelihood models for phylogeny estimation. Syst Biol 52:674–683CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Murray GE (1961) Geology of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Province of North America. Harper & Brothers, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  52. Near NJ, Page LM, Mayden RL (2001) Intraspecific phylogeography of Percina evides (Percidae: Etheostomatinae): an additional test of the Central Highlands pre-Pleistocene vicariance hypothesis. Mol Ecol 10:2235–2240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Nickerson RS (1998) Confirmation bias: a ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Rev Gen Psychol 2:175–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nielsen R, Wakeley J (2001) Distinguishing migration from isolation: a markov chain monte carlo approach. Genetics 158:885–896PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. O’Neil W (1983) A preliminary reposrt on the pollination of Sarracenia purpurea in the forest-swale ecotone. Carniv Plant Newsl 12:60–62Google Scholar
  56. Osborne JL, Martin AP, Carreck NL, Swain JL, Knight ME, Goulson D, Hale RJ, Sanderson RA (2008) Bumblebee flight distances in relation to the forage landscape. J Anim Ecol 77:406–415CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Pritchard JK, Wen W (2004) Documentation for the STRUCTURE software Version 2. ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  58. Pritchard JK, Stephens M, Donnelly P (2000) Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data. Genetics 155:945–959PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Raymond M, Rousset F (1995) GENEPOP (version 1.2): population genetics software for exact tests and ecumenicism. J Hered 86:248–249Google Scholar
  60. Saucier RT (1994) In: Engineers USACo (ed) Geomorphology and quaternary geologic history of the lower Mississippi Valley. Mississippi River Commission, Vicksburg, MSGoogle Scholar
  61. Schnell DE (1976) Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada, Second edn. Timber Press, Portland, OregonGoogle Scholar
  62. Schwaegerle KE (1983) Population growth of the pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea L., at Cranberry Bog, Licking County, Ohio. Ohio J Sci 1:19–22Google Scholar
  63. Schwaegerle KE, Schaal BA (1979) Genetic variability and founder effect in the pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. Evolution 33:1210–1218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Shaw J, Lickey EB, Beck JT, Farmer SB, Liu W, Miller J, Siripun KC, Winder CT, Schilling EE, Small RL (2005) The tortoise and the hare II: relative utility of 21 noncoding chloroplast DNA sequences for phylogenetic analysis. Am J Bot 92:142–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shaw J, Lickey EB, Schilling EE, Small RL (2007) Comparison of whole chloroplast genome sequences to choose noncoding regions for phylogenetic studies in angiosperms: the tortoise and the hare III. Am J Bot 94:275–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sheridan PM (1991) What is the identity of the West Gulf Coastal pitcher plant, Sarracenia alata?. Carniv Plant Newsl 20:102–110Google Scholar
  67. Slack A (1979) Carnivorous plants. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  68. Slatkin M (1981) Estimating levels of gene flow in natural populations. Genetics 99:323–335PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Soltis DE, Morris AB, McLachlan JS, Manos PS, Soltis PS (2006) Comparative phylogeography of unglaciated eastern North America. Mol Ecol 15:4261–4293CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Storz JF (2005) Using genome scans of DNA polymorphism to infer adaptive population divergence. Mol Ecol 14:671–688CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Swofford DL (2001) PAUP*. Phylogenetic analysis using parsimony (*and other methods). Version 4. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  72. Thuillet A, Bru D, David J, Roumet P, Santoni S, Sourdille P, Bataillon T (2002) Direct estimation of mutation rate for 10 microsatellite loci in Durum Wheat, Triticum turgidum (L.) Thell. ssp durum. Mol Biol Evol 19:122–125PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Van Oosterhout C, HW F, WDP M, Shipley P (2004) MICRO-CHECKER: software for identifying and correcting genotyping errors in mirosatellite data. Mol Ecol Notes 4:535–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Vigouroux Y, Jaqueth JS, Matsuoka Y, Smith OS, Beavis WD, Smith JSC, Doebley J (2002) Rate and Pattern of Mutation at Microsatellite Loci in Maize. Molecular Biology and Evolution 19:1251–1260PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Visscher PK, Seeley TD (1982) Foraging strategy of honey bee colonies in a temperate deciduous forest. Ecology 63:1790–1801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wang ZF, Hamrick JL, Godt MJW (2004) High genetic diversity in Sarracenia leucophylla (Sarraceniaceae), a carnivorous wetland herb. J Hered 95:234–243CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Watterson GA (1984) Allele frequencies after a bottleneck. Theor Popul Biol 26:387–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Weir BS, Cockerham CC (1984) Estimating F-statistics for the analysis of population structure. Evolution 38:1358–1370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Weiss TE (1980) The effects of fire and nutrient availability on the pitcher plant Sarracenia flava L. University of Georgia, AthensGoogle Scholar
  80. Wherry ET (1929) Acidity relations of the Sarracenias. Wash Acad Sci 19:379–390Google Scholar
  81. Wright S (1969) Evolution and the genetics of populations. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

Personalised recommendations