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Population genetics of Penstemon albomarginatus (Plantaginaceae), a rare Mojave Desert species of conservation concern

Wolfe, Andrea D., Necamp, Timothy, Fassnacht, Susan, Blischak, Paul, Kubatko, Laura
Conservation genetics 2016 v.17 no.6 pp. 1245-1255
Penstemon, dunes, genetic variation, habitats, heterozygosity, inbreeding, latitude, microsatellite repeats, rare species, sand, Arizona, California, Mojave Desert, Nevada
Penstemon albomarginatus is a psammophytic endemic of the Mojave Desert, found only in deep sand and dune habitats of San Bernardino County, California, Mohave County, Arizona, and Clark and Nye Counties in Nevada. We used six microsatellite loci to assess genetic differentiation and diversity for 228 individuals across the 12 known populations of this rare species. A slight heterozygote deficiency was found in two populations, but most populations show no signs of inbreeding. Results show a geographic pattern of northern populations being more closely related to one another compared to all other geographic regions. Genetic diversity was greatest in the southern populations, with decreasing amounts of diversity observed with latitude. In general, the geographic pattern of genetic diversity among all populations suggests a post-glacial dispersal from south-to-north. Our results are discussed in the framework of anthropogenic pressures on deep sand habitats of the Mojave Desert.