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Conservation Genetics and the Preservation of the Mesoamerican Endemic Cycad, Dioon lindEPA Grant Number: U916093
Title: Conservation Genetics and the Preservation of the Mesoamerican Endemic Cycad, Dioon lind
Investigators: Moynihan, Jeremy
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2005
Project Amount: $116,484
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Natural and Life Sciences , Biology/Life Sciences
Cycads are ancient plants that are rapidly disappearing in the wild because of habitat loss and continued popularity in the ornamental plant trade. Genetic erosion may be a contributing factor to the decline of these fascinating plants. The objective of this research project is to improve our understanding of genetic variation and better resolve the taxonomy of Dioon; both of which are critical to assessing ex-situ conservation efforts. Cycad numbers are plummeting in the wild, and a re-examination of ex-situ collections is critical.
I will examine the genetic diversity within and among populations of the genus Dioon to test the working hypothesis that the ex-situ collections of Fairchild Tropical Gardens and the Montgomery Botanical Center are conserving the genetic diversity found in the wild. Concurrently, a DNA-based species phylogeny will be proposed to resolve taxonomic problems in the genus. Microsatellites and low-copy nuclear genes will be used to discern population genetic structure and to construct the phylogeny.