North Carolina

Dr. Johnny Randall, North Carolina Botanical Garden

The infamous Venus flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, found across North Carolina and into South Carolina, has been seen to be declining in recent years. It is currently under review for federal listing, is ranked G2 on NatureServe, and considered vulnerable by RedList. Threats to this charismatic plant include poaching, trampling, and changes in fire and hydrology. Dr. Randall of the North Carolina Botanical Garden is conducting a double-pronged conservation effort, collecting and banking seeds by maternal line, and doing genetic analysis across the populations. Results from the genetic data suggest four distinct clusters that closely match phylogeographic areas.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Wesley M. Knapp, North Carolina Natural Heritage Program

Preventing extinction is the lowest bar for conservation success we can set and the roll of ex situ conservation efforts in preventing extinction is becoming more significant. Continued work to document the extinct plants of North America north of Mexico has resulted in the discovery that up to 7 plants are extinct in the wild (EW). While these extinct plant taxa have no naturally occurring populations, they are still found in ex situ collections at botanical gardens. These collections may have issues in having full conservation value. Many collections were taken from few or single individuals and not necessarily intended to prevent the extinction of a species, but now represent the last known individuals. Some species reported as present in seed banks or botanical gardens are incorrectly identified. Additionally, botanical gardens having the last known individuals of a species are not necessarily aware of the significance of these collections. Evidence suggests a species has gone extinct while at a botanical garden because the specimen was destroyed before the significance of the collection was recognized. A prioritization of ex situ conservation efforts, using the best data is critical to prevent future extinction events. Single site global endemics or species of extremely narrow geographic distributions are the most susceptible to extinction. I will discuss a collaboration with NatureServe to identify global single site endemics that we hope will help prioritize seed banking and ex situ collections for these species following best practices to ensure quality/genetic diversity of collections. Additionally, an ongoing collaboration with the North Carolina Botanical Garden to prioritize the rarest plants in North Carolina for ex situ conservation efforts has already seen significant results.

Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Johnny Randall, North Carolina Botanic Garden (SePPCon 2016)

Johnny reviews the Center for Plant Conservation best practices related to the link between ex situ and in situ actions. Ex situ collections held as seeds or whole plants can help with research on germination or cultivation and reintroductions to the wild. He discusses clues that may trigger ex situ action, reviews the organizations that help guide the practice, and describes the link to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. He reviews patterns of where seed banking is practiced in the world and where it is needed and discusses the continuum of seed types that require different efforts for ex situ conservation. He briefly describes ethics and prioritization for collections, protocols for sampling genetic diversity, and techniques for processing orthodox seeds. Genetic concerns about ex situ collections include genetic drift, adaptation to cultivation, mutation accumulation and artificial selection.  He showcases the NCBG program and accomplishments with partners.

This work was presented at the Southeast Partners in Plant Conservation (SePPCon) 2016 Meeting. Learn more about SePPCon here.

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Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Johnny Randall, North Carolina Botanical Garden

This video reviews an experimental technique that refines optimal practice for planting the federally endangered harperella (Ptilimnium nodosum) along a river. After selecting a suitable site, obtaining permission, and propagating many plants, North Carolina Botanical Garden staff and volunteers planted 70 seedlings planted into replicated plots of terracell, coir, and natural cobble. Using the two stabilizers required different planting techniques.  Monitoring following planting day revealed that coir fabric supported the best plant growth even after many years.

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Date Recorded: 
Monday, August 26, 2019

Johnny Randall and Michael Kunz (North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and Jamie Winshell, Corbin D. Jones and Gregory P. Copenhaver (Department of Biology and Integrative Program for Biological & Genome Sciences,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Venus’ flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is the most widely recognized carnivorous plant, and endemic to only 100 km landward radius around Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. Although a few large populations occur on protected lands, the number of individuals is declining, entire populations are being extirpated, and a seemingly secure species is now vulnerable to local extinction and loss of wild genetic variation. We used Restriction site-Associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) to evaluate the genetic architecture of Venus flytrap populations across its entire range. In addition, we collected and banked over 25,000 seeds from 20 populations as a long-term conservation resource. Initial analysis of 160 RAD-seq derived markers indicate limited genetic variation within the first population sampled. Genetic variation was surprisingly heterogeneous across loci with some populations harboring appreciable variation and others harboring next to none. This initial analysis is ongoing for approximately 150 populations to provide a high-resolution assessment of the existing genetic variation, which will help guide future conservation efforts and understand species phylogeography.

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Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018