J Syst Evol ›› 2021, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (2): 251-261.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12558

Special Issue: Virtual Issue to Celebrate the Legacy and Life of Professor Wen-Tsai Wang

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Congruent spatial patterns of species richness and phylogenetic diversity in karst flora: Case study of Primulina (Gesneriaceae)

Mei-Zhen Xu1,2, Li- Hua Yang1,3, Hang-Hui Kong1,3, Fang Wen4, and Ming Kang1,3*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
    2College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3Center of Conservation Biology, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
    4Gesneriad Conservation Center of China, Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin 541006, China
  • Received:2019-10-17 Accepted:2019-12-17 Online:2019-12-20 Published:2021-03-01

Abstract: The karst landform in southern China is renowned for its high levels of species diversity and endemism. Globally, karst ecosystems are under threat from unsustainable anthropogenic disturbance and climate changes and are among the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. In this study, we used the typical karst endemic genus in southern China, Primulina Hance, as a model to identify areas within the karst landform with high diversity and to investigate congruence between phylogenetic and species‐based measures of diversity. Using phylogenetic information and species distribution data, we measured geographical patterns of diversity with four metrics: species richness (SR), corrected weighted endemism (CWE), phylogenetic diversity (PD), and phylogenetic endemism (PE). Our results revealed a high spatial congruence among SR, PD, and PE, with hotspot areas identified in the Nanling Mountains (i.e., north Guangdong and northeast Guangxi) and southeast Yungui Plateau (i.e., north and southwest Guangxi), whereas the hotspots of CWE are comparatively uniform throughout the geographic extent. The categorical analysis of neo‐ and paleoendemism identified a pattern of mixed neo‐ and paleoendemism in numerous grid cells, suggesting that karst areas in southern China have acted as both “museums” and “cradles” of plant evolution. Conservation gap analysis of hotspots revealed that the majority of prioritized hotspots (>90%) of the genus are outside of protected areas, therefore indicating the limited effectiveness of national nature reserves for the karst flora. Overall, our results suggest that the karst flora merits more conservation attention and SR can be an effective surrogate to capture PD in conservation planning.

Key words: CANAPE, conservation, endemism, hotspot, karst, phylogenetic diversity, Primulina, species richness