A holistic approach to the conservation of the coastal Azorean endemic taxa Lotus azoricus and Azorina vidalii: Reproductive biology, population genetics and ecology

  • State

  • Nome
    Rúben Miguel Correia Rego
  • Entity host
    CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores
  • University awarding the degree
    University of the Azores


  • Enrichment of the herbarium collections with new samples;
  • Give greater depth to the works of micromorphology and reproductive biology performed in the MacFlor project;
  • Apply new cytogenetic and molecular approaches to verify the population genetics of these Azorean endemic taxa;
  • Create databanks with the new and relevant information found;
  • The new data obtained will allow to make comparisons with related species from the Macaronesian region;
  • Provide data that will contribute to improve the conservation strategies defined for these species;
  • Establishment of an important collaboration with the project LIFE VIDALIA and with other institutes, such as the Botanic Garden of Faial and the Botanic Garden “Viera y Clavijo” from the Canary Islands;
  • The knowledge obtained in these studies will allow a more efficient conservation of these emblematic species and their respective habitats;
  • Publish several papers in open access journals with impact factor.

Results & Impact

The analysis of macro and micromorphological characters will allow to characterize the species morphologically and compare them with other related Macaronesian flora, such as species occurring in the Madeira and Canary archipelagos. This will provide insight on some evolutionary aspects that are inaccessible from the molecular perspective. We also expect to obtain knowledge of the seasonal and floral phenological stages of these species; The morphological and reproductive micro-markers can provide answers about the reproductive efficiency of natural populations, with application in conservation; Also, it will allow to characterize the breeding system and self-incompatibility system of both target species. We expect to publish this data in a scientific journal.

We intend to evaluated the suitability of Genetic diversity data to detect the impact of population reinforcement in the genetic diversity indexes. This information may contribute to define the best conservation strategies regarding population reinforcement to apply in each population. The data obtained will be published in a scientific journal;

We will also obtain optimized distribution models based on climatic variables for each of the target species. Maps with the present and future potential distribution of the target species in the areas of occurrence of L. azoricus and A. vidalii. A scientific paper including the modelling results, regarding the present and future distributions of the two endemic taxa, including all the constraints to that distribution in terms of climate, co-occurrence of invasive plants, and type of land use/cover.