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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 503759, 12 pages
Research Article

Genetic Variation in Past and Current Landscapes: Conservation Implications Based on Six Endemic Florida Scrub Plants

1Archbold Biological Station, P.O. Box 2057, Lake Placid, FL 33862, USA
2Friesner Herbarium, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208, USA
3Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR, Edinburgh Scotland, UK
4The Nature Conservancy, Department of Botany, University of Florida, P.O. Box 118526, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

Received 29 May 2009; Revised 9 December 2009; Accepted 18 January 2010

Academic Editor: Bradford Hawkins

Copyright © 2010 Eric S. Menges et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


If genetic variation is often positively correlated with population sizes and the presence of nearby populations and suitable habitats, landscape proxies could inform conservation decisions without genetic analyses. For six Florida scrub endemic plants (Dicerandra frutescens, Eryngium cuneifolium, Hypericum cumulicola, Liatris ohlingerae, Nolina brittoniana, and Warea carteri), we relate two measures of genetic variation, expected heterozygosity and alleles per polymorphic locus (APL), to population size and landscape variables. Presettlement areas were estimated based on soil preferences and GIS soils maps. Four species showed no genetic patterns related to population or landscape factors. The other two species showed significant but inconsistent patterns. For Liatris ohlingerae, APL was negatively related to population density and weakly, positively related to remaining presettlement habitat within 32 km. For Nolina brittoniana, APL increased with population size. The rather weak effects of population area/size and both past and current landscape structures suggest that genetic variation needs to be directly measured and not inferred for conservation planning.