Hybridization with invasive Rosa rugosa threatens the genetic integrity of native Rosa mollis
Alexandra, K. Christiane, M.R.; Volker Wissemann
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 170(3)
Hybridization between invasive and native species often has severe consequences on fitness and survival of the native relative. We investigated the extent of hybridization between the neophyte Rosa rugosa and native R.?mollis, an endangered species in Germany. Rosa mollis is found in only one large population in Germany close to the Baltic coast, which has been heavily invaded by R.?rugosa for at least 60 years. We analysed all individuals of R.?mollis from this mixed population using microsatellite markers and morphological characters and compared these data with those from allopatric populations of R.?mollis and R.?rugosa. In the mixed population we identified nine plants (45% of the population) as hybrids between R.?mollis (seed parent) and R.?rugosa (pollen parent) by the presence of microsatellite alleles private for R.?rugosa. These individuals were also morphologically intermediate between the parental species. Gene flow from R.?mollis into R.?rugosa was negligible. We detected a very low genetic diversity and a low number of seeds per hip in the mixed population of R.?mollis, pointing to genetic depletion and low fitness. In the light of these results and the difficulties in removing invasive R.?rugosa from European coastlines, we discuss possible conservation strategies for this endangered population. .