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Assessment of Chosen Reproductive Cycle Processes and Genetic Diversity of Salix myrtilloides L. in Wetlands of Polesie Lubelskie: The Prospects of Its Survival in the Region

Pogorzelec, Magdalena, Głębocka, Katarzyna, Hawrylak-Nowak, Barbara, Bronowicka-Mielniczuk, Urszula
Polish Journal of Ecology 2015 v.63 no.3 pp. 352-364
Salix myrtilloides, endangered species, genetic variation, in vitro culture, in vitro studies, microsatellite repeats, pollen, population dynamics, reproduction, seed germination, sex ratio, viability, wetlands, Poland
Salix myrtilloides L. is an endangered species whose western limit of range runs through Poland. The main aim of the study was to increase the knowledge on the ecology and biology of S. myrtilloides populations in the Polesie Lubelskie region (Eastern Poland) in order to create an effective protection program. An 80% decrease in its population was found in this area. Our study was conducted to identify the mechanisms responsible for the process of withdrawal of this species from its natural stands by determining whether the processes of generative reproduction (pollen viability and germinability, seed germination ability and dynamics) in the populations occur properly and by characterizing within- and among-population genetic diversity of S. myrtilloides, using ISSR (Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat) primers. The results confirmed that S. myrtilloides pollen viability was high (84.17±8.67), and so were the seed germination ability (76% of the total number of sown seeds/24 h) and dynamics. The within-population genetic diversity was quite high for this species and the inter-population genetic variation was of medium value (ΦPT=0.148). The condition of two populations, their genetic diversity and sex ratio as well as the correctness of the investigated reproductive cycle stages altogether give prospects for their survival. It seems to be very important to start conservation involving the reintroduction and reconstruction of S. myrtilloides populations in the Polesie Lubelskie region. The proposed method for restoration of S. myrtilloides resources would be possible if ex situ cultivation and in vitro methods were used.