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Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1304-1316; doi:10.3390/su5031304

Plant Species Restoration: Effects of Different Founding Patterns on Sustaining Future Population Size and Genetic Diversity

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati, ML0006, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA
2
Department of Mathematical SciencesSciences, University of Cincinnati, 4310 French Hall, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 January 2013 / Revised: 1 March 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 20 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
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Abstract

Efforts to sustain the earth’s biodiversity will include the establishment and manipulation of isolated rescue populations, derived either via in situ fragmentation, or under ex situ circumstances. For target species, especially those with limited propagation resources, major goals of such projects include both the optimization of population size and the preservation of genetic diversity. Such rescue populations will be founded in a variety of ways, but little is known about how the geometric patterning of founders can affect population growth and genetic diversity retention. We have developed a computer program, NEWGARDEN, to investigate this issue for plant species that vary in life history characteristics. To use NEWGARDEN, input files are created that specify the size and structure of the preserve, the positioning and genetic diversity of the founders, and life history characteristics of the species (e.g., age-specific reproduction and mortality; gene dispersal distances; rates of selfing, etc.). The program conducts matings with consequent offspring establishment such that the virtual population develops through generations as constrained by the input. Output statistics allow comparisons of population development for populations that differ in one or more input conditions. Here, with NEWGARDEN analyses modeling a triennial species, we show that rescue population project managers will often have to carefully consider the geometric placement of founders to minimize effort expended while maximizing population growth and conservation of genetic diversity, such considerations being heavily dependent on the life history characteristics of particular species. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity crisis; conservation management; endangered species; founder effects; plant population genetics; restoration plantings; sustainable populations; triennials biodiversity crisis; conservation management; endangered species; founder effects; plant population genetics; restoration plantings; sustainable populations; triennials
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rogstad, S.H.; Pelikan, S. Plant Species Restoration: Effects of Different Founding Patterns on Sustaining Future Population Size and Genetic Diversity. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1304-1316.

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