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Evolution and diversification related to rainfall regimes: diversification patterns in the South African genus Metalasia (Asteraceae-Gnaphalieae).
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Biogeography, ISSN 0305-0270, E-ISSN 1365-2699, Vol. 42, no 1, 121-131 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim. The Cape region is known for its exceptional species richness, although much remains unknown regarding the appearance of the modern Cape flora. One explanation is that floral diversification was influenced by the establishment of winter rainfall/summer arid conditions hypothesized to have occurred towards the end of the Miocene. We studied the evolution and diversification of the plant genus Metalasia (Asteraceae–Gnaphalieae), with the aim of testing whether radiation patterns may have been influenced by the climatic changes.

Location. South Africa, with emphasis on the south-west.

Methods. The radiation of Metalasia was investigated using two approaches: a species diffusion approach, which estimated the ancestral areas by means of a relaxed random walk while sampling from extant distributions; and a discrete approach, in which distributions were defined according to the phytogeographical centres of the Cape region. Secondarily derived clock rates from an earlier Gnaphalieae study were used for calibration purposes.

Results. Our analyses date Metalasia to approximately 6.9 Ma, after the Miocene–Pliocene boundary and the establishment of the winter rainfall/summer arid conditions. Metalasia consists of two sister clades: Clade A and Clade B. Clade B, which is endemic to the winter rainfall area, is estimated to have diversified c. 6.4 Ma, whereas Clade A, with a main distribution in the all-year rainfall area, is considerably younger, with a crown group age estimated to 3.3 Ma. Diversification rates suggest an early rapid speciation, with rates decreasing through time both for Metalasia and for clades A and B separately. Ancestral area estimations show a possible scenario for the radiation of Metalasia to its current diversity and distribution, with no conflict between results inferred from diffusion or discrete methods.

Main conclusions. The diversification of Metalasia is estimated to have begun after the establishment of the winter rainfall/summer arid conditions, consistent with its radiation having been influenced by changes in the climatic regime.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 42, no 1, 121-131 p.
Keyword [en]
Biogeography, Cape flora, Cape Floristic Region, diversity, Metalasia, South Africa, species-tree diffusion, winter rainfall
National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Ecosystems and species history
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1091DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12390OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-1091DiVA: diva2:778022
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-01-09 Created: 2015-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Nylinder, StephanAnderberg, Arne A.

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