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Phylogenetic and paleobotanical evidence for late Miocene diversification of the Tertiary subtropical lineage of ivies (Hedera L., Araliaceae)

AuthorsValcárcel, Virginia; Guzmán, Beatriz ; Medina, N. G.; Vargas, Pablo ; Wen, J.
KeywordsEastern and western Mediterranean
Tertiary refuge
Centrifugal dispersal
Climate-driven spatial speciation
Issue Date22-Jun-2017
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationBMC Evolutionary Biology 17(1): 146 (2017)
Abstract[Background] Hedera (ivies) is one of the few temperate genera of the primarily tropical Asian Palmate group of the Araliaceae, which extends its range out of Asia to Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic results suggested Asia as the center of origin and the western Mediterranean region as one of the secondary centers of diversification. The bird-dispersed fleshy fruits of ivies suggest frequent dispersal over long distances (e.g. Macaronesian archipelagos), although reducing the impact of geographic barriers to gene flow in mainland species. Genetic isolation associated with geographic barriers and independent polyploidization events have been postulated as the main driving forces of diversification. In this study we aim to evaluate past and present diversification patterns in Hedera within a geographic and temporal framework to clarify the biogeographic history of the genus.
[Results] Phylogenetic (biogeographic, time divergence and diversification) and phylogeographic (coalescence) analyses using four DNA regions (nrITS, trnH-psbA, trnT-trnL, rpl32) revealed a complex spatial pattern of lineage divergence. Scarce geographic limitation to gene flow and limited diversification are observed during the early-mid Miocene, followed by a diversification rate increase related to geographic divergence from the Tortonian/Messinian. Genetic and palaeobotanical evidence points the origin of the Hedera clade in Asia, followed by a gradual E-W Asian extinction and the progressive E-W Mediterranean colonization. The temporal framework for the E Asia - W Mediterranean westward colonization herein reported is congruent with the fossil record. Subsequent range expansion in Europe and back colonization to Asia is also inferred. Uneven diversification among geographic areas occurred from the Tortonian/Messinian onwards with limited diversification in the newly colonized European and Asian regions. Eastern and western Mediterranean regions acted as refugia for Miocene and post-Miocene lineages, with a similar role as consecutive centers of centrifugal dispersal (including islands) and speciation.
[Conclusions] The Miocene Asian extinction and European survival of Hedera question the general pattern of Tertiary regional extinction of temperate angiosperms in Europe while they survived in Asia. The Tortonian/Messinian diversification increase of ivies in the Mediterranean challenges the idea that this aridity period was responsible for the extinction of the Mediterranean subtropical Tertiary flora. Differential responses of Hedera to geographic barriers throughout its evolutionary history, linked to spatial isolation related to historical geologic and climatic constraints may have shaped diversification of ivies in concert with recurrent polyploidy.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12862-017-0984-1
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