Relationships between Tertiary relict and circumboreal woodland floras: a case study in Chimaphila (Ericaceae)

Zhen Wen Liu, Jing Zhou, Hua Peng, John V. Freudenstein, Richard L. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background and Aims: Tertiary relict and Arctic/circumboreal distributions are two major patterns of Northern Hemisphere intercontinental disjunctions with very different histories. Each has been well researched, but members of one biome have generally not been incorporated the biogeographic analyses of the other, and links or transitions between these twoΞ biomes have rarely been addressed. 
Methods: Phylogenies were generated based on cpDNA and nuclear ITS, using Bayesian and ML methods. A time-calibrated phylogeny was generated using BEAST. Ancestral Area Reconstruction (AAR) was inferred using both Statistical Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis (S-DIVA) and dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis (DEC) model. 
Key Results: The Chimaphila crown group was estimated to have originated in the early Miocene. The lineages of C. umbellata diverged early, but its present circumboreal distribution was not achieved until around the middle Pliocene or later. Sister to this is a clade of four species with Tertiary relict distribution. Among these, two expansions occurred from North America to Asia, probably via the Bering Land Bridge generating its current disjunctions. 
Conclusions: Our data concurs with a few other studies, indicating that the circumboreal woodland biome has an older origin than most true arctic–alpine taxa, having gradually recruited taxa since the early Oligocene. For the origin of Asia – North America disjunctions in Chimaphila, an ‘out-of-America’ migration was supported. It is not clear in which direction Pyroloideae lineages moved between Tertiary relict disjunctions and Arctic/circumboreal distributions; each biome might have recruited species from the other.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Botany
Early online date10 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Mar 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adaptation
  • Arctic/circumboreal
  • Ericaceae
  • migration
  • Pyroloideae
  • Tertiary relict


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