Dyckia brevifolia is an endemic rheophyte bromeliad that occurs exclusively in patches on rocky banks of the Itajaí-Açu River in southern Brazil. The genetic diversity of all known populations was carried out using allozyme markers and the total number of rosettes, reproductive rosettes and clumps per population were characterized. The mating system was also investigated. The populations presented different sizes. Most rosettes were aggregated in groups, and the populations differed significantly in number of rosettes and reproductive rosettes per population. The outcrossing rate obtained was 8.2%, with predominant selfing. The populations presented an average of 1.4 alleles per locus and 27% of polymorphisms. The expected genetic diversity was 0.067. Downstream populations showed the highest genetic diversity which could be attributed to hydrochory (unidirectional river flow). Most genetic diversity is distributed among populations (FˆST = 0.402). Natural habitats of D. brevifolia are not recommended for the construction of hydroelectric plants given that it would seriously complicate in situ conservation of this species. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that between 35 and 161 reproductive rosettes must be collected for effective ex situ conservation, depending on the targeted population, or seeds collected from 157 seed-rosettes per population.

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