Conservation Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 2357–2368 | Cite as

Conservation genetics of the endangered endemic Sambucus palmensis Link (Sambucaceae) from the Canary Islands

  • Pedro A. Sosa
  • Miguel A. González-Pérez
  • Claudio Moreno
  • Jake B. Clarke
Research Article


Five polymorphic microsatellites (simple sequence repeat; SSR) markers were used to estimate the levels of genetic variation within and among natural populations from different islands of the endangered endemic from the Canary Islands Sambucus palmensis Link (Sambucaceae). Genetic data were used to infer potential evolutionary processes that could have led to present genetic differentiation among islands. The levels of genetic variability of S. palmensis were considerably high; proportion of polymorphic loci (P = 100%), mean number of alleles per locus (A = 6.8), average expected heterozygosity (He = 0.499). In spite of its small population size and endemic character, 58 different multilocus genotypes were detected within the 165 individuals analyzed. All samples located in different islands always presented different multilocus genotypes. Principal Coordinates Analysis, genetic differentiation analysis (F ST and G ST ) and Bayesian Cluster Analysis revealed significant genetic differences among populations located in different islands. However, this genetic differentiation was not recorded among Tenerife and La Gomera populations, possibly revealing the uncontrolled transfer of material between both islands. AMOVA analysis attributed 77% of the variance to differences within populations, whereas 8% was distributed between islands. The levels of genetic differentiation observed among populations, and the genetic diversity distribution within populations in S. palmensis, indicate that management should aim to conserve as many of the small populations as possible. Concentrating conservation efforts only on the few large populations would result in the likelihood of loss of genetic variability for the species.


Bottleneck Conservation genetics Endangered species Plant conservation Relictual distribution SSR 



The authors would like to thank Angel Fernández (Garajonay National Park), Vicente García Lopez, Julio Leal Pérez (Cabildo de La Palma) and Marcos Salas for their assistance in collecting samples. We also thank Elizabeth Ojeda (Viceconsejería de Medio Ambiente, Gobierno de Canarias), Angel Palomares (Taburiente National Park), Manuel Marrero, Eduardo Carqué and Angel Bañares (Teide National Park) for their comments and observations. Javier Sosa and Andrew Stephens corrected the English. This research was supported by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Dirección General de Investigación (CGL2004-03839) of the Spanish Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro A. Sosa
    • 1
  • Miguel A. González-Pérez
    • 1
  • Claudio Moreno
    • 2
  • Jake B. Clarke
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de BiologíaUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de GeografíaUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain
  3. 3.East Malling ResearchEast MallingUK

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