The genetic relationships among 68 samples of Salvinia minima (Salviniaceae) were investigated using RAPD analysis. Neighbor joining, principle components, and AMOVA analyses were used to detect differences among geographically referenced samples within and outside of Florida. Genetic distances (Nei and Li) range up to 0.48, although most are under 0.30, still relatively high levels for an introduced, clonally reproducing plant. Despite the diversity AMOVA analysis yielded no indication that the Florida plants, as a group, were significantly different from the plants sampled elsewhere in its adventive, North American range. A single, genetically dissimilar population probably exists in the recent (1998) horticultural introduction to Mississippi. When the samples were grouped into 10 regional (but artificial) units and analyzed using AMOVA the between region variance was only 7.7%. Genetic similarity among these regions may indicate introduction and dispersal from common sources. The reduced aggressiveness of Florida populations (compared to other states) may be due to herbivory. The weevil Cyrtobagous salviniae, a selective feeder, is found in Florida but not other states. The genetic similarity also suggests that there are no obvious genetic obstacles to the establishment or efficacy of C. salviniae as a biological control agent on S. minima outside of Florida.
Additional publication details
A genetic survey of Salvinia minima in the southern United States