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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Van Zant, Jeffrey L. [1], Yuill, Alyssa M. [1], MacGowen, Alexandria B. [1], Cooper, Ranessa L. [1].

Conservation genetics of the Cirsium hillii (Hill’s thistle; Asteraceae) population in Hillsdale County, Michigan.

Cirsium hillii (Hill’s thistle; Asteraceae) is a perennial endemic to oak savannahs, open woods, prairies, and jack pine barrens in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, and it is a species of special concern with G3/S3 rankings.  In Michigan, Hill’s thistle is known from several regions across the state, but populations have decreased in number mainly due to habitat loss.  In Hillsdale County, a small parcel of oak barrens, the Sand Creek Prairie Plant Preserve, has been established and maintained by the Michigan Nature Association (MNA).  The Sand Creek Prairie Plant Preserve consists of about 12.5 acres, and it is home to likely the last extant southern population of C. hillii in Michigan.  Population counts and estimates of genetic diversity were performed during the 2012 and 2013 field seasons.  A few hundred plants were recorded each year at the preserve, with more present in 2013 after a recent prescribed burn.  About 25% of the C. hillii population was sampled in each field season, and genetic diversity was assessed using six microsatellite loci.  High levels of heterozygosity were present in both data sets, although allelic diversity was low.  Cloning is a major mode of reproduction in this population, as about half of the population represents true individuals; however, the high levels of heterozygosity suggest a genetically healthy population.  Our data will be useful to MNA for planning and implementing future conservation management efforts for this isolated population of C. hillii in southern Michigan.

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Cirsium hillii
genetic diversity
conservation genetics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 27
Location: Firs North/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: 27006
Abstract ID:654
Candidate for Awards:None

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