J Syst Evol ›› 2023, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (5): 868-889.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12926

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Exploring morphological evolution in relation to habitat moisture in the moss genus Fissidens using molecular data generated from herbarium specimens

Jessica M. Budke1†*, Nikisha R. Patel1,2,3†, GoFlag Consortium4‡, Mark D. Wienhold1,5, and Maria A. Bruggeman- Nannenga6   

  1. 1 University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA;
    2 University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA;
    3 Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06106, USA;
    4 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA;
    5 490 BioTech, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA;
    6 Griffensteijnseplein 23, 3703 NL BE Zeist, The Netherlands
    Co-first authors with equal contribution.
    GoFlag is an NSF-funded project(DEB-1541506) based at the University of Florida, Field Museum, and University of Arizona. Project personnel include(at UF):J. Gordon Burleigh, Emily Sessa, Stuart McDaniel, Christine Davis, Pavlo Antonenko, Sarah Carey, Lorena Endara, Weston Testo;(at Field):Matt von Konrat, Eve Gaus;(at UA):Hong Cui.
    *Author for correspondence. E-mail:jbudke@utk.edu
  • Received:2022-05-11 Accepted:2022-10-25 Online:2022-10-31 Published:2023-09-01

Abstract: Morphological evolution in mosses has long been hypothesized to accompany shifts in microhabitats, which can be tested using comparative phylogenetics. These lines of inquiry have been developed to include target capture sequencing, which can yield phylogenomic scale data from herbarium specimens. Here, we test the relationship between taxonomically important morphological characters in the moss genus Fissidens, using a 400- locus data set generated using a target-capture approach in tandem with a three-locus phylogeny generated using Sanger sequencing. Phylogenetic trees generated using ASTRAL and Bayesian inference were used to test the monophyly of subgenera/sections. These trees provide the basis for ancestral character state reconstructions and phylogenetic correlation analyses for five morphological characters and characters related to the moisture habitat, scored from the literature and by specimen inspection. Many of these characters exhibit statistically significant phylogenetic signal. Significant correlations were found between the limbidium (phyllid/leaf border of the gametophyte) and habitat moisture niche breadth, which could be interpreted as the more extensive limbidium enabling species to survive across a wider variety of habitats. We also found correlations between costa anatomy, peristome morphology, and the limbidium, which could reflect the evolutionary recruitment of genetic networks from the gametophyte to the sporophyte phase. The correlation found between average habitat moisture and the sexual system indicates that dioicous and polyoicous species are more likely to be found in moist habitats and that these higher moisture levels could be particularly, reproductively advantageous to species with separate sexes.

Key words: ancestral character reconstruction, axillary hyaline nodules, classification system, costa anatomy, habitat moisture, limbidium, peristome teeth, sexual system