J Syst Evol ›› 2024, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (1): 1-19.DOI: 10.1111/jse.13037

• Research Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

RAD-seq data provide new insights into biogeography, diversity anomaly, and species delimitation in eastern Asian–North American disjunct clade Benthamidia of Cornus (Cornaceae)

Zhi-Yuan Du1,2, Jin Cheng3, and Qiu-Yun (Jenny) Xiang2*   

  1. 1 Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China;
    2 Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 27695 NC, USA;
    3 State Key Laboratory of Efficient Production of Forest Resources, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    *Author for correspondence. E-mail: jenny_xiang@ncsu.edu.
  • Received:2023-06-15 Accepted:2023-10-26 Online:2023-12-13 Published:2024-01-01

Abstract: The big-bracted dogwood clade Benthamidia of Cornus is a typical example of the well-known eastern Asia (EA) and North America (NA) floristic disjunction, with greater species diversity in EA than in NA. The lineage provides an opportunity to explore factors contributing to the plant diversity unevenness between EA and NA and test hypotheses on the origin of disjunct distribution from a phylogenetic perspective. We generated RAD-seq data, conducted phylogenomic and biogeographic analyses for the clade with sampling of all species (9) and subspecies (10) currently recognized in floras. We also assessed species delineation and calculated phylogenetic diversity to evaluate the diversity unevenness between EA and NA. Finally, we examined variation of diversification rates and ecological niches on the phylogeny to explore potential causes underlying the observed diversity pattern. Our results revealed phylogenetic relationships congruent with previous studies and suggested a trans-Beringian ancestral distribution of the clade Benthamidia in the mid-Oligocene, dispersal from Mexico to eastern United States in the mid-Miocene, and early diversification of the EA clade in SW China. Our results also confirmed greater phylogenetic diversity and diversification rate of the EA clade. Species delimitation analysis suggested 17 species in the clade Benthamidia, including all recognized subspecies. By integrating the results of molecular data with morphology, we proposed to retain the subspecies without changing their ranks. Our data suggested increased diversification rate in EA as an intrinsic factor explaining the greater species diversity in the region driven mainly by biogeographic isolation and partially by niche divergence.

Key words: Benthamidia clade, biogeography, Cornus, niche similarity, phylogenomics