Currie, Michael W. , Ayers, Tina .
Origin and adaptive radiation of a hanging garden endemic in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Islands have long interested students of evolution and biogeography. Hanging gardens on the Colorado Plateau are "virtual islands" which exist within continental ecosystems. They are isolated by intervening desert habitat that restricts migration much the same way as the ocean isolates island populations. Because hanging gardens are rare ecosystems with endemic flora and fauna, it is crucial that these communities be the focus of detailed studies in order to supply land mangers with pertinent information, which can be used in making management decisions. The Alcove bog orchid (Platanthera zothecina Higgens & Welsh) is endemic to hanging gardens in the Four Corners area and may represent a relic from a more widespread Pleistocene flora. It may be related to Platanthera sparsiflora S. Wats., which grows at higher elevations in Rocky Mountain alpine meadows. Platanthera zothecina is the focus of molecular systematic studies using two genetic markers (ITS, atpB). Preliminary results support the recognition of P. zothecina as a distinct taxon endemic to the southern Colorado Plateau, and populations appear to share genetic similarity based upon geographic proximity. Population genetic studies using AFLP data are in progress to estimate genetic diversity of individual populations within Glen Canyon.
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1 - Northern Arizona University, Department of Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 5640, Flagstaff, Arizona, 86011-5640, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 10:30 AM