Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Stephen P. Bush


Epiphytes are estimated to comprise 10% of all vascular plants. Despite being represented by such large numbers, the genetic diversity of epiphytes has virtually been unstudied. Epidendrum conopseum, an epiphytic orchid inhabiting the coast of South Carolina and the only epiphytic orchid found outside of Florida in the United States, was the focus of this study. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were used to investigate genetic diversity in five populations of E. conopseum. Three populations were collected near the northern limits of the species in North Carolina and South Carolina, while the other two populations were collected from Florida. A total of 83 individuals were sampled. Seven random primers produced eleven polymorphic RAPD markers. Markers were generally found to be at intermediate frequencies in the populations. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) partitioned 92.12% of the variation within populations of E. conopseum and only 7.88% among populations. This indicates there is little genetic divergence among populations, suggesting gene flow is extensive as a result of outcrossing.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.