J Syst Evol ›› 2013, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (2): 117-133.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12007

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Inferring the biogeographic origins of inter-continental disjunct endemics using a Bayes-DIVA approach

1AJ HARRIS* 2Jun WEN 3Qiu-Yun (Jenny) XIANG*   

  1. 1(Department of Botany, Oklahoma State University, 301 Physical Science, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA) 2(Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, MRC 166, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA)
    3(Department of Plant Biology, North Carolina State University, 4209 Gardner Hall Campus Box 7612, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA)
  • Received:2012-06-26 Published:2013-02-18

Abstract: The arcto-Tertiary relictual flora is comprised of many genera that occur non-contiguously in the temperate zones of eastern Asia, Europe, eastern North America, and western North America. Within each distributional area, species are typically endemic and may thus be widely separated from closely related species within the other areas. It is widely accepted that this common pattern of distribution resulted from of the fragmentation of a once more-continuous arcto-Tertiary forest. The historical biogeographic events leading to the present-day disjunction have often been investigated using a phylogenetic approach. Limitations to these previous studies have included phylogenetic uncertainty and uncertainty in ancestral range reconstructions. However, the recently described Bayes-DIVA method handles both types of uncertainty. Thus, we used Bayes-DIVA analysis to reconstruct the stem lineage distributions for 185 endemic lineages from 23 disjunct genera representing 17 vascular plant families. In particular, we asked whether endemic lineages within each of the four distributional areas more often evolved from (1) widespread ancestors, (2) ancestors dispersed from other areas, or (3) endemic ancestors. We also considered which of these three biogeographic mechanisms may best explain the origins of arcto-Tertiary disjunct endemics in the neotropics. Our results show that eastern Asian endemics more often evolved from endemic ancestors compared to endemics in Europe and eastern and western North America. Present-day endemic lineages in the latter areas more often arose from widespread ancestors. Our results also provide anecdotal evidence for the importance of dispersal in the biogeographic origins of arcto-Tertiary species endemic in the neotropics.

Key words: arcto-Tertiary, biogeography, disjunction, endemic species, Northern Hemisphere, RASP, S-DIVA, temperate forest.