SOUTO Cintia Paola
Barcoding Plant Hotspots in Patagonian Monte Desert
C. P. SOUTO; MATHIASEN P.; M. TADEY
NATL RESEARCH COUNCIL CANADA-N R C RESEARCH PRESS
Lugar: Otawa; Año: 2015 vol. 58 p. 283 - 283
Background - Under the current biodiversity crisis, an approach used to prioritize areas for biological conservation is the identification of ?biodiversity hotspots,? which usually consist of large areas with exceptional concentrations of endemic species that are under threat due to habitat loss. In this study we used a method that integrates Geographical Information with intraspecific genetic polymorphism of species within a habitat type in order to identify genetic hotspots and suggest priority areas for conservation. Genetic hotspots are areas where multiple species have high genetic diversity and/or contain unique genetic variants, and may be used to set conservation priorities. We tested the hypothesis that plants with similar ecological tolerances were similarly shaped by evolutionary forces, resulting in genetic hotspots. Results - We mapped genetic diversity and unique variants of DNA barcoded markers (rbcLa + ITS2) for 75 plant species from Monte Desert, an area highly threatened by anthropological activities. Spatial distribution patterns of genetic polymorphisms differed among taxa according to their ecological tolerances. Several genetic hotspots were mapped and we recommend conservation actions for some of them. Significance - Biodiversity hotspots are defined at a coarse scale and are often based on richness, endemism, threat or a combination of these?but to date have not incorporated genetic data. Preserving the evolutionary potential of species is a major concern in conservation, as it may allow them to respond to a changing climate and ensure long-term population persistence. Mapping genetic hotspots can contribute to the design of effective conservation actions by detecting local areas with high genetic diversity, and the presence of unique gene variants?and thus presumably high evolutionary potential. Existing spatially explicit genetic data from barcode of multiple species can help to identify biodiversity hotspots and guide conservation actions to establish science-based protected areas that will preserve key habitats and species.