Freudenstein publishes article in Annals of Botany

March 29, 2019
John Freudenstein

Relationships between Tertiary relict and circumboreal woodland floras: a case study in Chimaphila (Ericaceae)

Zhen-Wen Liu, Jing Zhou, Hua Peng, John V Freudenstein, Richard I Milne. 2019. Annals of Botany, mcz018,
Background and Aims
Tertiary relict and Arctic/circumboreal distributions are two major patterns of Northern Hemisphere intercontinental disjunctions with very different histories. Each has been well researched, but members of one biome have generally not been incorporated in the biogeographical analyses of the other, and links or transitions between these two biomes have rarely been addressed.
Phylogenies of Chimaphila were generated based on cpDNA and nuclear ITS, using Bayesian and maximum likelihood methods. A time-calibrated phylogeny was generated using BEAST. Ancestral area reconstruction was inferred using both statistical dispersal–vicariance analysis and a dispersal–extinction–cladogenesis model.
Key Results
The Chimaphila crown group was estimated to have originated in the early Miocene. The lineages of C. umbellata diverged early, but its present circumboreal distribution was not achieved until around the middle Pliocene or later. Sister to this is a clade of four species with Tertiary relict distribution. Among these, two expansions occurred from North America to Asia, probably via the Bering Land Bridge, generating its current disjunctions.
Our data concur with a few other studies, indicating that the circumboreal woodland biome has an older origin than most true Arctic–alpine taxa, having gradually recruited taxa since the early Oligocene. For the origin of Asia–North America disjunctions in Chimaphila, an ‘out-of-America’ migration was supported. It is not clear in which direction Pyroloideae lineages moved between Tertiary relict disjunctions and Arctic/circumboreal distributions; each biome might have recruited species from the other.