Approaches to develop a road map for the long-term conservation of an island endemic genus Cylindrocline
Habitat fragmentation and invasive alien species contribute to genetic bottlenecks and the threat of extinction of many endemic species of Mauritius, part of the Madagascan and Indian Ocean biodiversity hotspot. The genus Cylindrocline has two species, C. commersonii (critically endangered) and C. lorencei (extinct in the wild). The last living specimens of C. lorencei disappeared in the wild after the recorded collecting of seeds in 1982 by Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest (CBN Brest). Embryo rescue was used as a method to germinate these seeds and the seedlings raised this way were shared by CBN Brest with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RBG Kew) as part of an exchange programme in 2001. Mature plants both at CBN Brest and RBG Kew stopped producing viable seeds and this has made the long-term conservation of C. lorencei even more difficult. Seeds of C. commersonii collected from the wild in 2010 have a very low viability while ex situ grown C. commersonii produce non-viable seeds. Molecular studies conducted in C. lorencei using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) showed no genetic variability among remaining individuals. Two samples of C. commersonii showed a very small amount of genetic variability. The variability between the two species was well within the limits commonly found within species or between closely related species and the long-term conservation of the genus requires a radical (to a degree) approach to avoid its extinction. The importance of novel approaches for restoration and long-term conservation are discussed.
KeywordsEmbryo rescue Micropropagation Paclobutrazol Re-introduction
The authors thank Caroline Atherton and Poppy Marriott for in vitro technical support, Noelia Alvarez, Carlos Magdalena and Nick Johnson and staff at Ex Situ Service of the CBN Brest for their horticultural support. We also acknowledge the help of Hannah Banks for guidance with pollen staining study and NPCS Mauritius for their support to the project. The authors thank Bruno Bordenave and Claudia Baider for their critical review of the earlier version of the manuscript. Authors also acknowledge the funding received from the Threatened Plants Appeal, RBG Kew.
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