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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Fama, Nicole [1], Sinn, Brandon [2], Barrett, Craig [1].

Conservation genetics and host specificity in a vulnerable WV native orchid, Corallorhiza bentleyi.

Corallorhiza bentleyi is a rare orchid endemic to five counties along the West Virginia/Virginia border. Described in the 1990s, it is known from only about 10 populations, and is both geographically restricted and locally rare. Patterns of genetic diversity and fungal host specificity for this fully mycoheterotrophic orchid are poorly understood; such knowledge is crucial to help maintain long term stability of this species. We took a three-fold approach to quantify diversity among populations of Corallorhiza bentleyi. First, nuclear microsatellite and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers were developed to quantify genetic variation within C. bentleyi. The fungal internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) was sequenced to assess the degree of specificity between the orchids and their ectomycorrhizal fungal hosts. Finally, we used floral morphometrics to analyze variation among all individuals sampled. Due to small population sizes, reliance on self-pollination, and potentially narrow specificity towards its fungal host, we hypothesize genetic diversity to be low among populations. Morphological data show some distinct structuring between populations at the county level, and dominant ISSR markers indicate some degree of polymorphism both within and among populations. Corallorhiza bentleyi appears to associate with a single species of fungus, T. fuscocinerea, meaning that its survival is linked to that of this poorly known fungus. The ultimate goal of this research is to obtain more information concerning genetic diversity, relationships with fungal hosts, and environmental requirements in order to influence management of C. bentleyi populations and their habitats in southern Appalachia.

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1 - West Virginia University, Biology, 53 campus dr, Morgantown, WV, 26506, US
2 - West Virginia University, Biology, Life Sciences Building, 53 Campus Drive, Morgantown, WV, 26506, United States


Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Conservation Biology
Location: Grand Ballroom - Exhibit Hall/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PCB007
Abstract ID:615
Candidate for Awards:None

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