Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Approaches to develop a road map for the long-term conservation of an island endemic genus Cylindrocline.

Abstract

Habitat fragmentation and invasive alien species contribute to genetic bottlenecks and the threat of extinction of many endemic species of Mauritius, part of the Madagascan and Indian Ocean biodiversity hotspot. The genus Cylindrocline has two species, C. commersonii (critically endangered) and C. lorencei (extinct in the wild). The last living specimens of C. lorencei disappeared in the wild after the recorded collecting of seeds in 1982 by Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest (CBN Brest). Embryo rescue was used as a method to germinate these seeds and the seedlings raised this way were shared by CBN Brest with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RBG Kew) as part of an exchange programme in 2001. Mature plants both at CBN Brest and RBG Kew stopped producing viable seeds and this has made the long-term conservation of C. lorencei even more difficult. Seeds of C. commersonii collected from the wild in 2010 have a very low viability while ex situ grown C. commersonii produce non-viable seeds. Molecular studies conducted in C. lorencei using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) showed no genetic variability among remaining individuals. Two samples of C. commersonii showed a very small amount of genetic variability. The variability between the two species was well within the limits commonly found within species or between closely related species and the long-term conservation of the genus requires a radical (to a degree) approach to avoid its extinction. The importance of novel approaches for restoration and long-term conservation are discussed.