Poster: 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.


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