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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Lutzow-Felling, Candace [1], Morden, Cliff [2].

Ecosystems, Species, and Genes: Biodiversity of Hawaiian Acacia Populations.

The Hawaiian acacias (collectively referred to as koa) are island endemic trees with a widespread distribution. These taxa grow on all of the main Hawaiian Islands and form a canopy dominant or codominant in six of the eight main forest ecosystems recognized in the archipelago. Diversity within native Acacia forest is examined at three levels: ecosystem, species, and genes. Koa forests support several tropic levels of native biota including other plants, numerous insects, and all of Hawai`iís extant forest birds. Although koa populations display high levels of morphological plasticity, numerical analysis supports classification of five Hawaiian Acacia taxa: two species and three subspecies. All parameters of genetic diversity measured are higher than those typically recorded for island endemic species. Spatial analysis of this data shows that most of this genetic variation is distributed among individuals within populations and that population divergence is likely restrained by the free interchange of genetic material. Severe reduction in population size and population fragmentation negatively impact genetic diversity. Although these taxa are not likely to become endangered at the species level, given the importance of Hawai`iís acacias to ecosystem structure and associated biotic diversity, argument is made to emphasize conservation of Hawaiian Acacia forest ecosystems.

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1 - University of Virginia, Blandy Experimental Farm, 400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce, VA, 22620, USA
2 - University of Hawaii, Center for Conservation Research and Training, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822, USA

Conservation biology
Hawaiian Islands
population genetics
tropical forest

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: CP02
Location: PDR 4/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: CP02008
Abstract ID:1740

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