In order to ensure conservation of mangroves, genetic diversity in remaining populations must be explored. Both morphological and isozyme analyses were used and compared in investigating the intra- and inter-estuarine variation in Avicennia marina in Sydney, the most urbanised area in Australia. Sediment characteristics, metal levels, tree attributes, leaf morphology and isozyme/allozyme analyses were conducted. Tree characteristics did not prove to be adequate genetic markers, but leaf morphology may be of use in this species. Isozyme/allozyme analyses indicated that genetic distance corresponded with geographic distance, although habitat metal levels may indicate local selection pressures. High levels of heterozygote deficiencies were displayed in each estuary, which could threaten future viability. The results hold implications for management as periodic isozyme analysis may be useful in indicating management needs. The identification of metal-tolerant types may also be useful. Transplantation among estuaries may assist in increasing genetic diversity, if considered desirable. Whatever the management aims, isozyme/allozyme analyses are shown to be useful for revealing genetic diversity in this species.
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