Taxonomic and genetic diversity of the priority site Hualpen Peninsula, Región Bío-Bío, Chile. Implications for conservation
Keywords:native Relict, species richness, genetic diversity, conservation
Taxonomic and genetic diversity are among the components of biodiversity. Both components need to be taken in consideration to establish management and conservation strategies in high-priority areas for conservation. Pedro del Rio Zañartu park in the peninsula of Hualpen, contains one of the last relicts of the coastal forest of the Bio-Bio Region, mainly concentrated in the Terrestrial Biological Station (EBT) assigned to the University of Concepcion near to the city of Concepcion. In this study, we evaluated both taxonomic and genetic diversity of the peninsula to establish conservation strategies and future management plans in the area. We quantified the number of species along 20 transects within the park and in the surrounding areas. In addition, we measured the genetic diversity in five phylogenetically unrelated species, using AFLP markers. A total of 90 species were recorded, 78 % native and 22 % non-native. The highest species richness was found in the EBT area, having significance difference with the rest of the sampling sites. The genetic analysis showed similar values of genetic diversity than previously reported for species with similar biological traits and for the same studied species, in different zones of their distribution. Therefore, high levels of species richness and genetic diversity were found in the EBT. This could be as a result of the management and protection by the university. Considering the presence of endangered species within the EBT and the spatial distribution of species richness in the area, we recommend that the park Pedro del Rio Zañartu and surrounding areas need to be part of the areas protected by the government.
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