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Isolation and reduced gene flow among Faroese populations of tea-leaved willow (Salix phylicifolia, Salicaceae)

  • Periodical
  • New Journal of Botany; June 2012, Vol. 2 Issue: 1 p9-15, 7p
  • Tea-leaved willow Salix phylicifoliaL. is native to the Faroe Islands where it has become rare due to intensive grazing and loss of suitable habitats. Based on analysis of amplified fragment length polymorphism AFLP, we investigated the genetic structure of the extant populations of Faroese S. phylicifolia. Three genetically distinct populations were inferred by Bayesian clustering and several long distance connections were revealed. The patterns suggested imprints of historic introductions and poor gene flow between populations implying risks of drift and inbreeding. The results probably reflect a general issue for plant species on the Faroe Islands that are not well adapted to grazing. It was recommended that future efforts to protect Faroese S. phylicifoliashould be focused on enrichment planting in protected areas at a central location on the Faroe Islands. Populations in protected areas may hopefully establish a viable gene pool to the support of peripheral populations in non-protected areas.
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