An evaluation of genetic variation among assemblages of Gentianopsis crinata (fringed gentian) at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area
Kritcher, Katey, R. P. Roberts and J. C. Hull
Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area (SDNEA) is
part of the Maryland State Park system, and hosts a
globally rare ecosystem often referred to as
serpentine barrens. Among the more than 39 rare
species known to occur at this site is Gentianopsis
crinita (Froel.) Ma. also known as fringed gentian.
Fringed gentian is a biennial herb that grows in
small, scattered assemblages along the capillary
fringe of two streams flowing through SDNEA. This
species is known only from this site in Maryland and
holds a ranking of highly rare and in danger of
extirpation. Over the past several decades, field
studies have shown a decline in numbers of individuals
thus, a simultaneous reduction in distribution. This
study sought to assess genetic variation within and
among 10 identified assemblages of G. crinita using
inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR; microsatellites).
Because G. crinita seeds are conducive to water
dispersal, we hypothesize that assemblages of G.
crinita growing along the same stream would be
genetically similar. However, assemblages of G.
crinita along different stream margins may display
higher levels of genetic variation. Preliminary
results reveal little genetic variation within and
among the assemblages sampled. However, the use of
additional di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide probes and
continued sampling are planned. Results of this
investigation may provide needed information about G.
crinita population structure and may form a basis for
guiding future conservation efforts.