Fay, Michael F. , Smith, Rhian J. , Bateman, Richard M. .
How does hybridization influence the decision making process in conservation? The genus Orchis (Orchidaceae) as a case history.
Hybridization is a fundamental process in biology and can lead to new evolutionary lineages. However, if the parental taxa involved are rare, difficult decisions may have to be made regarding the conservation of the biological process versus the conservation of the parental taxa. The genus Orchis in Europe is a good example of a group of species in which these types of questions arise as several of the species hybridize where they co-occur. The example used here relates to O. militaris, O. purpurea and O. simia. All three species are widespread in Europe, though they are rare in large parts of their ranges, and they have substantial areas of overlap in distribution. Hybridization between species in this group is part of an ongoing process, but the species involved appear to be able to maintain pure populations despite this process. At the edge of the species range, however, there is a risk that the peripheral populations of pure individuals may be lost due to hybridization. This will be illustrated with a recent case history from southern England, involving O. purpurea and O. simia. As both species are rare in England, this situation has received widespread attention. Various suggestions were made, ranging from letting nature take its course to digging up the hybrids and the individuals of O. purpurea to protect the remaining pure individuals of O. simia.
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1 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Jodrell Laboratory, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
2 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, UK
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 2:00 PM