Population Genetic Structure and Natural Establishment of Hybrids Between Sarracenia flava and Sarracenia minor in Francis Marion National Forest

Published:

January 2020

Author

Jeremy D. Rentsch

Additional Authors

Ryan C. Holland

We assessed population genetic structure and rate of hybridization in Sarracenia flava and S. minor in Francis Marion National Forest. The forest has an abundance of potential habitat for our study species and has suffered less human mediated disturbance than much of the county’s longleaf pine savanna and wet pine savanna ecosystems. We examined 63 S. flava and 62 S. minor individuals, as well as one hybrid across a 486.02 km2 study site. We used eight nuclear microsatellite loci and one non-coding chloroplast marker to assess population genetic structure and describe the parentage of the hybrid. We found relatively little population genetic structure across many distinct field sites, even when those sites were separated by unsuitable habitat. In very small populations surviving in shrub-dominated longleaf pine savanna, genetic divergence was greater than in larger populations with more suitable habitat. The single hybrid discovered was an F1 hybrid for which S. flava served as the maternal parent. We found no signs of introgression. We hope that these data can help inform conservation decisions regarding Sarracenia species, as the low genetic structure seems to suggest a high degree of connectivity between geographically distinct populations of plants.

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