J Syst Evol ›› 2019, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (6): 695-718.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12549

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

A tale of worldwide success: Behind the scenes of Carex (Cyperaceae) biogeography and diversification

Santiago Martín-Bravo1,2†*, Pedro Jiménez-Mejías2,3,4†*, Tamara Villaverde5, Marcial Escudero6, Marlene Hahn7 , Daniel Spalink8, Eric H. Roalson2, Andrew L. Hipp7,9, and the Global Carex Group (Carmen Benítez-Benítez1, Leo P. Bruederle10, Elisabeth Fitzek7,11, Bruce A. Ford12, Kerry A. Ford13, Mira Garner7,14, Sebastian Gebauer15, Matthias H. Hoffmann16, Xiao-Feng Jin17, Isabel Larridon18,19, Étienne Léveillé-Bourret20, Yi-Fei Lu17, Modesto Luceño1, Enrique Maguilla6, Jose Ignacio Márquez-Corro1, Mónica Míguez1, Robert Naczi21, Anton A. Reznicek22, and Julian R. Starr23)   

  1. 1Área de Botánica, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemical Engineering, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Ctra de Utrera km 1 sn, Seville 41013, Spain
    2School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
    3Department of Biology (Botany), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Campus Cantoblanco, Madrid 28049, Spain
    4Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Cambio Global (CIBC‐UAM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid 28049, Spain
    5Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Plaza de Murillo 2, Madrid 28014, Spain
    6Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Seville, Reina Mercedes sn, Seville ES-41012, Spain
    7The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532, USA
    8Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas A&M University, 495 Horticulture Rd Suite 305, College Station, TX 77843, USA
    9The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
    10Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA
    11Universität Bielefeld, Department of Computational Biology & Center for Biotechnology - CeBiTec, Universitaetsstrasse 27, Bielefeld 33615, Germany
    12Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada
    13Allan Herbarium, Manaaki-Whenua Landcare Research, PO Box 69040, Lincoln 7640, Canterbury, New Zealand
    14Current address: The University of British Columbia, Forest Sciences Centre, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
    15Department of Systematic Botany, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Neuwerk 21, Halle 06108 (Saale), Germany
    16Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Botanical Garden, Am Kirchtor 3, Halle 06108 (Saale), Germany
    17College of Life and Environment Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 311121, Zhejiang, China
    18Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE, United Kingdom
    19Department of Biology, Ghent University, Systematic and Evolutionary Botany Lab, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, Gent 9000, Belgium
    20Institute of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 117, Zürich 8008, Switzerland
    21New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10458, USA
    22University of Michigan Herbarium, 3600 Varsity Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108-2228, USA
    23Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Gendron Hall, Room 160, 30 Marie Curie, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada
  • Received:2019-08-01 Accepted:2019-10-31 Published:2019-11-01


The megadiverse genus Carex (c. 2000 species, Cyperaceae) has a nearly cosmopolitan distribution, displaying an inverted latitudinal richness gradient with higher species diversity in cold‐temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Despite great expansion in our knowledge of the phylogenetic history of the genus and many molecular studies focusing on the biogeography of particular groups during the last few decades, a global analysis of Carex biogeography and diversification is still lacking. For this purpose, we built the hitherto most comprehensive Carex‐dated phylogeny based on three markers (ETS–ITS–matK), using a previous phylogenomic Hyb‐Seq framework, and a sampling of two‐thirds of its species and all recognized sections. Ancestral area reconstruction, biogeographic stochastic mapping, and diversification rate analyses were conducted to elucidate macroevolutionary biogeographic and diversification patterns. Our results reveal that Carex originated in the late Eocene in E Asia, where it probably remained until the synchronous diversification of its main subgeneric lineages during the late Oligocene. E Asia is supported as the cradle of Carex diversification, as well as a “museum” of extant species diversity. Subsequent “out‐of‐Asia” colonization patterns feature multiple asymmetric dispersals clustered toward present times among the Northern Hemisphere regions, with major regions acting both as source and sink (especially Asia and North America), as well as several independent colonization events of the Southern Hemisphere. We detected 13 notable diversification rate shifts during the last 10 My, including remarkable radiations in North America and New Zealand, which occurred concurrently with the late Neogene global cooling, which suggests that diversification involved the colonization of new areas and expansion into novel areas of niche space.

Key words: ancestral area reconstruction, biogeographic stochastic mapping, boreo‐temperate, dispersal, diversification rates, hyperdiverse, phylogeny