J Syst Evol ›› 2016, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (5): 469-490.doi: 10.1111/jse.12222

• Review •     Next Articles

Intercontinental disjunctions between eastern Asia and western North America in vascular plants highlight the biogeographic importance of the Bering land bridge from late Cretaceous to Neogene

Jun Wen1*, Ze-Long Nie2,3, and Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond4   

  1. 1Department of Botany, MRC-166, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA
    2Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Utilization, College of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Jishou University, Jishou 416000, Hunan, China
    3Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
    4UA Museum of the North and Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6960, USA
  • Received:2016-07-02 Online:2016-08-14 Published:2016-09-08

Abstract: This review shows a close biogeographic connection between eastern Asia and western North America from the late Cretaceous to the late Neogene in major lineages of vascular plants (flowering plants, gymnosperms, ferns and lycophytes). Of the eastern Asian–North American disjuncts, conifers exhibit a high proportion of disjuncts between eastern Asia and western North America. Several lineages of ferns also show a recent disjunct pattern in the two areas. In flowering plants, the pattern is commonly shown in temperate elements between northeastern Asia and northwestern North America, as well as elements of the relict boreotropical and Neogene mesophytic and coniferous floras. The many cases of intercontinental biogeographic disjunctions between eastern Asia and western North America in plants supported by recent phylogenetic analyses highlight the importance of the Bering land bridge and/or the plant migrations across the Beringian region from the late Cretaceous to the late Neogene, especially during the Miocene. The Beringian region has permitted the filtering and migration of certain plant taxa since the Pliocene after the opening of the Bering Strait, as many conspecific taxa or closely related species occur on both sides of Beringia.

Key words: Bering land bridge, biogeography, disjunction, disjuncts, eastern Asia, western North America

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