Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 511–524 | Cite as

Structure and genetic diversity of Ixora margaretae an endangered species

A baseline study for conservation and restoration of natural dry forest of New Caledonia
  • D. Verhaegen
  • A. Assoumane
  • J. Serret
  • S. Noe
  • B. Favreau
  • A. Vaillant
  • G. Gâteblé
  • A. Pain
  • C. Papineau
  • L. Maggia
  • J. Tassin
  • J.-M. Bouvet
Original Paper


The dry forests of New Caledonia are an exceptional ecosystem because of their numerous endemic botanical species and their highly diversified fauna of insects, mollusks, reptiles and birds. Unfortunately, the area of the dry forests has been significantly reduced, mainly by human activities. Ecological, phenological and genetic analysis of Ixora margaretae, a symbolic species of the sclerophyll forest, has revealed contrasting traits among natural stands. The division of the natural range and then the separation of forest islands has greatly reduced the existing genetic variability of this species. The genetic diversity is strongly structured in genetic clusters which correspond well to specific ecotypes according to the environmental conditions and the forest types. Furthermore, genetic analysis of the reproductive and non-reproductive trees as well the half-sib families obtained by complete protection of mother trees has revealed substantial genetic drift which has resulted in increased loss of allelic variability. The total consumption of seeds by mainly rats confirms the observed absence of natural regeneration. All these results show that measures taken to protect the stands of dry forests will not be enough to maintain sufficient genetic variability of I. margaretae populations in the long term. Assisted regeneration with control of the increase in variability will be necessary to maintain the biodiversity of the species. The results obtained for I. margaretae must be confirmed with other symbolic species in order to take the necessary measures for the effective preservation of the dry forests in New Caledonia.


Biodiversity hotspot Sclerophyll forests Endemism Ecology SSR Gene flow Genetic drift 



We are most grateful to the Dry Forest Conservation Program, which works on the conservation of dry forests and which supported this study. Collecting permits were kindly provided by the Direction de l’Environnement de la Province Sud and by the Direction du Développement Economique et de l’Environnement de la province Nord. We are indebted to the private owners for granting access to their properties. Our thanks also go to the New Caledonian Agronomic Institute for its support for the collection of samples, for work at the tree nursery and for funding this study (agreement IAC-Cirad N24/2005/CP).

Data Archiving Statement

All ecological and genetic data has been submitted to Dryad under the following DOIs:

Data package title: Data from: Structure and genetic diversity of Ixora margaretae an endangered species: a baseline study for conservation and restoration of natural dry forest of New Caledonia Provisional DOI: doi: 10.5061/dryad.76nv3 Data files: Ecological data Data package title:

Data from: Structure and genetic diversity of Ixora margaretae an endangered species: a baseline study for conservation and restoration of natural dry forest of New Caledonia Provisional DOI: doi: 10.5061/dryad.707r1 Data files: SSR Data

Supplementary material

11295_2012_575_MOESM1_ESM.doc (31 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Verhaegen
    • 1
  • A. Assoumane
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Serret
    • 1
  • S. Noe
    • 1
    • 3
  • B. Favreau
    • 1
  • A. Vaillant
    • 1
  • G. Gâteblé
    • 4
  • A. Pain
    • 4
  • C. Papineau
    • 5
  • L. Maggia
    • 1
    • 4
  • J. Tassin
    • 4
    • 6
  • J.-M. Bouvet
    • 1
  1. 1.Cirad UMR AGAP «Genetic diversity and breeding of forest trees»Montpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Faculté des SciencesUniversité Abdou MoumouniNiameyNiger
  3. 3.Sandrine NoeClaretFrance
  4. 4.IAC Institut Agronomique néo-Calédonien BP73PaïtaNew Caledonia
  5. 5.Programme de Conservation des Forêts Sèches (PCFS)Centre de Recherche Nord BP6PouemboutNew Caledonia
  6. 6.Cirad Tropical Forest Goods and Ecosystem Services: Facing Global Changes (BSEF) Campus international de BaillarguetMontpellier Cedex 5France

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