Data from: Patterns of geographic distribution have a considerable influence on population genetic structure in one common and two rare species of Rhododendron (Ericaceae)
Watanabe, Yoichi; Tomaru, Nobuhiro; Yoichi, Watanabe (2015), Data from: Patterns of geographic distribution have a considerable influence on population genetic structure in one common and two rare species of Rhododendron (Ericaceae), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ck44d
Genetic diversity is essential for species to sustain their populations and evolutionary potential. In order to develop effective conservation strategies for rare species, it is necessary to understand differences in patterns of genetic diversity between common and rare species. Data about population genetic structure is important to design effective conservation strategies for rare species. In this study, we compared the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of a common species, Rhododendron weyrichii, to those of two rare species, Rhododendron sanctum and Rhododendron amagianum, with different geographic distributions. We analyzed five microsatellite loci in 16 populations of R. weyrichii, 9 populations of R. sanctum, and 6 populations of R. amagianum. As expected, the level of genetic diversity indicated by allelic richness and gene diversity was lower for the rare species R. sanctum than for the common species R. weyrichii. However, there was no statistically significant difference in genetic diversity between R. weyrichii and the other rare species, R. amagianum. Analyses of the isolation-by-distance pattern, neighbor-joining trees, and Bayesian clustering indicated that R. sanctum had a strong population genetic structure whereas R. amagianum exhibited very weak genetic structure among populations and that there was moderate population genetic structure for R. weyrichii. Therefore, the degree and pattern of population genetic structure in each species was unrelated to its rarity and instead merely reflected its geographic distribution.