J Syst Evol

• Research Articles •    

Phylogeny and phylogeography of Arenaria section Pseudomoehringia

Javier Bobo‐Pinilla1,2*, Julio Peñas3, Nélida Padilla‐García1,2†, and María Montserrat Martínez‐Ortega1,2   

  1. 1 Departamento de Botánica y Fisiología Vegetal, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, University of Salamanca, Salamanca E‐37007, Spain
    2 Biobanco de ADN vegetal, Banco Nacional de ADN, Salamanca E‐37007, Spain
    3 Unidad de Conservación Vegetal, Departamento de Botánica, University of Granada, Granada E‐18071, Spain
  • Received:2019-05-01 Accepted:2020-08-13 Online:2020-08-19

Abstract:

Phylogeographic and evolutionary studies are necessary to establish solid taxonomic treatments and to implement effective conservation programs. Unfortunately, a well‐argued and well‐founded taxonomic framework is still lacking for some Mediterranean taxa. This is the case of Arenaria section Pseudomoehringia, a group that currently comprises three species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula (A. funiculata, A. suffruticosa, and A. tejedensis) and A. glochidisperma, which is restricted to the Rif mountains, North Africa. However, the taxonomic boundaries and phylogenetic relationships among these species are still uncertain. To explore the evolutionary history and phylogeographic patterns within this section, analyses based on nuclear (amplified fragment length polymorphism and internal transcribed spacer) and plastid DNA markers (psbA‐3’ trnK‐matK and rps16) were performed. Our study has confirmed the monophyly of the section, in which two species are clearly identified (A. funiculata and A. glochidisperma) and an additional species complex (“A. suffruticosa + A. tejedensis complex”) is also supported as a monophyletic clade. The phylogeographic results point toward a dispersal event of a common ancestor of the group from the Iberian Peninsula, giving rise to A. glochidisperma in North Africa. Moreover, A. funiculata and A. glochidisperma are identified as closely related species edaphically differentiated across the Strait of Gibraltar. Our study indicates low levels of a recent gene flow among populations of the “A. suffruticosa + A. tejedensis complex,” which are genetically highly structured and suggest an isolation by distance pattern, probably due to a combination of ecological and geographic barriers. Furthermore, the taxonomic and conservation status of taxa included in Arenaria section Pseudomoehringia has been reviewed.

Key words: Arenaria, isolation by distance, phylogeny, phylogeography, section Pseudomoehringia, western Mediterranean