Gail Reeves

University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa

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Publications (17)184.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Considering genetic relatedness among species has long been argued as an important step toward measuring biological diversity more accurately, rather than relying solely on species richness. Some researchers have correlated measures of phylogenetic diversity and species richness across a series of sites and suggest that values of phylogenetic diversity do not differ enough from those of species richness to justify their inclusion in conservation planning. We compared predictions of species richness and 10 measures of phylogenetic diversity by creating distribution models for 168 individual species of a species-rich plant family, the Cape Proteaceae. When we used average amounts of land set aside for conservation to compare areas selected on the basis of species richness with areas selected on the basis of phylogenetic diversity, correlations between species richness and different measures of phylogenetic diversity varied considerably. Correlations between species richness and measures that were based on the length of phylogenetic tree branches and tree shape were weaker than those that were based on tree shape alone. Elevation explained up to 31% of the segregation of species rich versus phylogenetically rich areas. Given these results, the increased availability of molecular data, and the known ecological effect of phylogenetically rich communities, consideration of phylogenetic diversity in conservation decision making may be feasible and informative.
    Conservation Biology 12/2011; 25(6):1229-39. · 4.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Declining populations of less than 250 mature individuals are symptomatic of many Critically Endangered cycads, which, globally, comprise the most threatened group of organisms as a result of collecting and habitat loss. Survival plans focus on law enforcement, reintroduction, and augmentation programmes using plants from the wild and botanical gardens. Augmentation is one of the few remaining options for cycad populations, although the assumed benefits remain untested and there is a possibility that augmentation from different sources could compromise the genetic integrity of existing populations, especially when garden plants have no provenance data. We studied Encephalartos latifrons, a South African endemic, which is a typical Critically Endangered cycad. We studied the extent and structure of genetic diversity in wild and ex situ populations to assess the potential benefits and risks associated with augmentation programmes. We examined 86 plants using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs). The 417 AFLP markers thus generated yielded a unique DNA ‘fingerprint’ for each plant. Wild populations retain high levels of genetic diversity and this is reflected among the ex situ holdings at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. No population differentiation is evident, indicating a single panmictic population, consistent with moderately high levels of gene flow between subpopulations and a sexual mode of reproduction. Bayesian clustering identified four genotype groups in the wild, as well as a genotype group only found in ex situ collections. Our results indicate that E. latifrons would benefit from augmentation programmes, including the use of undocumented collections, and careful management of breeding plants would increase the heterogeneity of propagules. © 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 105, 293–308.
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 11/2011; 105(2):293 - 308. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Cape region of South Africa is a hotspot of flowering plant biodiversity. However, the reasons why levels of diversity and endemism are so high remain obscure. Here, we reconstructed phylogenetic relationships among species in the genus Protea, which has its center of species richness and endemism in the Cape, but also extends through tropical Africa as far as Eritrea and Angola. Contrary to previous views, the Cape is identified as the ancestral area for the radiation of the extant lineages: most species in subtropical and tropical Africa are derived from a single invasion of that region. Moreover, diversification rates have been similar within and outside the Cape region. Migration out of the Cape has opened up vast areas, but those lineages have not diversified as extensively at fine spatial scales as lineages in the Cape. Therefore, higher net rates of diversification do not explain the high diversity and endemism of Protea in the Cape. Instead, understanding why the Cape is so diverse requires an explanation for how Cape species are able to diverge and persist at such small spatial scales.
    Evolution 10/2009; 64(3):745-60. · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim How species traits and environmental conditions affect biogeographical dynamics is poorly understood. Here we test whether estimates of a species' evolu-tionary age, colonization and persistence ability can explain its current 'range filling' (the ratio between realized and potential range size). Location Fynbos biome (Cape Floristic Region, South Africa). Methods For 37 species of woody plants (Proteaceae), we estimate range filling using atlas data and distribution models, evolutionary age using molecular phylogenies, and persistence ability using estimates of individual longevity (which determines the probability of extinction of local populations). Colonization ability is estimated from validated process-based seed dispersal models, the arrangement of potential habitat, and data on local abundance. To relate interspecific variation in range filling to evolutionary age, colonization and persistence ability, we use two complementary model types: phenomenological linear models and the process-based metapopula-tion model of Levins. Results Linear model analyses show that range filling increases with a species' colonization and persistence ability but is not affected by species age. Moreover, colonization ability is a better predictor of range filling than its component variables (local abundance and dispersal ability). The phylogenetically independent interaction between colonization and persistence ability is significant (P < 0.05) for 97% of 180 alternative phylogenies. While the selected linear model explains 42% of the variance in arcsine transformed range filling, the Levins model performs more poorly. It overestimates range filling for realistic parameter values and produces unrealistic parameter estimates when fitted statistically. Main conclusions Colonization and local extinction seem to shape Proteaceae range dynamics on ecological rather than macroevolutionary time-scales. Our results suggest that the positive abundance–range size relationship in this group is due pri-marily to the effect of abundance on colonization. In summary, this study contributes to a process-based understanding of range dynamics and highlights the importance of colonization for the future survival of Fynbos Proteaceae.
    Global Ecology and Biogeography 07/2007; 16:449-459. · 7.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One of the biggest challenges for conservation biology is to provide conservation planners with ways to prioritize effort. Much attention has been focused on biodiversity hotspots. However, the conservation of evolutionary process is now also acknowledged as a priority in the face of global change. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) is a biodiversity index that measures the length of evolutionary pathways that connect a given set of taxa. PD therefore identifies sets of taxa that maximize the accumulation of 'feature diversity'. Recent studies, however, concluded that taxon richness is a good surrogate for PD. Here we show taxon richness to be decoupled from PD, using a biome-wide phylogenetic analysis of the flora of an undisputed biodiversity hotspot--the Cape of South Africa. We demonstrate that this decoupling has real-world importance for conservation planning. Finally, using a database of medicinal and economic plant use, we demonstrate that PD protection is the best strategy for preserving feature diversity in the Cape. We should be able to use PD to identify those key regions that maximize future options, both for the continuing evolution of life on Earth and for the benefit of society.
    Nature 03/2007; 445(7129):757-60. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    Vincent Savolainen, Gail Reeves
    Science 07/2004; 304(5676):1445. · 31.20 Impact Factor
  • C Klak, G Reeves, T Hedderson
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    ABSTRACT: The Succulent Karoo is an arid region, situated along the west coast of southern Africa. Floristically this region is part of the Greater Cape Flora and is considered one of the Earth's 25 biodiversity hotspots. Of about 5,000 species occurring in this region, more than 40% are endemic. Aizoaceae (ice plants) dominate the Succulent Karoo both in terms of species numbers (1,750 species in 127 genera) and density of coverage. Here we show that a well-supported clade within the Aizoaceae, representing 1,563 species almost exclusively endemic to southern Africa, has diversified very recently and very rapidly. The estimated age for this radiation lies between 3.8 and 8.7 million years (Myr) ago, yielding a per-lineage diversification rate of 0.77-1.75 per million years. Both the number of species involved and the tempo of evolution far surpass those of any previously postulated continental or island plant radiation. Diversification of the group is closely associated with the origin of several morphological features and one anatomical feature. Because species-poor clades lacking these features occur over a very similar distribution area, we propose that these characteristics are key innovations that facilitated this radiation.
    Nature 02/2004; 427(6969):63-5. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Aizoaceae is the largest family of leaf succulent plants, and most of its species are endemic to southern Africa. To evaluate subfamilial, generic, and tribal relationships, we produced two plastid DNA data sets for 91 species of Aizoaceae and four outgroups: rps16 intron and the trnL-F gene region (both the trnL intron and the trnL-F intergenic spacer). In addition, we generated two further plastid data sets for 56 taxa restricted to members of the Ruschioideae using the atpB-rbcL and the psbA-trnH intergenic spacers. In the combined tree of the rps16 intron and trnL-F gene region, three of the currently recognized subfamilies (Sesuvioideae, Mesembryanthemoideae, and Ruschioideae) are each strongly supported monophyletic groups. The subfamily Tetragonioideae is polyphyletic, with Tribulocarpus as sister to the Sesuvioideae and Tetragonia embedded in the Aizooideae. Our study showed that the group consisting of the Sesuvioideae, Aizooideae, and Tetragonioideae does not form a monophyletic entity. Therefore, it cannot be recognized as a separate family in order to accommodate the frequently used concept of the Mesembryanthemaceae or "Mesembryanthema," in which the subfamilies Mesembryanthemoideae and Ruschioideae are included. We also found that several genera within the Mesembryanthemoideae (Mesembryanthemum, Phyllobolus) are not monophyletic. Within the Ruschioideae, our study retrieved four major clades. However, even in the combined analysis of all four plastid gene regions, relationships within the largest of these four clades remain unresolved. The few nucleotide substitutions that exist among taxa of this clade point to a rapid and recent diversification within the arid winter rainfall area of southern Africa. We propose a revised classification for the Aizoaceae.
    American Journal of Botany 10/2003; 90(10):1433-45. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic analyses of Loasaceae that apply DNA sequence data from the plastid trnL-trnF region and matK gene in both maximum-parsimony and maximum-likelihood searches are presented. The results place subfamily Loasoideae as the sister of a subfamily Gronovioideae-Mentzelia clade. Schismocarpus is the sister of the Loasoideae-Gronovioideae-Mentzelia clade. The Schismocarpus-Loasoideae-Gronovioideae-Mentzelia clade is the sister of Eucnide. Several clades in Loasoideae receive strong support, providing insights on generic circumscription problems. Within Mentzelia, several major clades receive strong support, which clarifies relationships among previously circumscribed sections. Prior taxonomic and phylogenetic hypotheses are modeled using topology constraints in parsimony and likelihood analyses; tree lengths and likelihoods, respectively, are compared from constrained and unconstrained analyses to evaluate the relative support for various hypotheses. We use the Shimodaira-Hasegawa (SH) test to establish the significance of the differences between constrained and unconstrained topologies. The SH test rejects topologies based on hypotheses for (1) the placement of gronovioids as the sister of the rest of Loasaceae, (2) the monophyly of subfamily Mentzelioideae as well as Gronovioideae and Loasoideae, (3) the monophyly of Loasa sensu lato as circumscribed by Urban and Gilg, and (4) the monophyly of Mentzelia torreyi and Mentzelia sect. Bartonia.
    American Journal of Botany 08/2003; 90(8):1215-28. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic analyses of four plastid DNA regions, the rbcL exon, trnL intron, trnL-trnF intergenic spacer, and rps16 intron from each of 73 species in the African genus Moraea (Iridaceae: Irideae) including accessions of all major species clusters in the genus, show Moraea to be paraphyletic when Barnardiella, Galaxia, Hexaglottis, Homeria (all southern African), and Gynandriris (Eurasian as well) were recognized as separate genera. There are several small, isolated species clusters at the basal nodes of the tree that are all restricted to the winter-rainfall zone of southern Africa (the Greater Cape floral kingdom) and a few, highly derived, large species groups that have radiated extensively within the winter-rainfall zone. Mapping of floral traits shows that an Iris-type flower is ancestral in Moraea. Floral changes are associated with shifts in pollination systems, either from passive pollen deposition on long-tongued bees foraging for nectar to active pollen collection by female bees foraging for pollen, fly, or hopliine scarab beetle pollination. Dating the nodes of the phylogenetic tree using non-parametric rate smoothing with a calibration point derived from broad dating of the angiosperms indicates that the divergence between Moraea and its sister genus Ferraria occurred about 25 mya in the early Miocene. The early radiation of Moraea took place against a background of aridification and the spread of open habitats, such as desert, shrubland, and fynbos.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 12/2002; 25(2):341-60. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic analyses of four plastid DNA regions, the rbcL exon, trnL intron, trnL–trnF intergenic spacer, and rps16 intron from each of 73 species in the African genus Moraea (Iridaceae: Irideae) including accessions of all major species clusters in the genus, show Moraea to be paraphyletic when Barnardiella, Galaxia, Hexaglottis, Homeria (all southern African), and Gynandriris (Eurasian as well) were recognized as separate genera. There are several small, isolated species clusters at the basal nodes of the tree that are all restricted to the winter-rainfall zone of southern Africa (the Greater Cape floral kingdom) and a few, highly derived, large species groups that have radiated extensively within the winter-rainfall zone. Mapping of floral traits shows that an Iris-type flower is ancestral in Moraea. Floral changes are associated with shifts in pollination systems, either from passive pollen deposition on long-tongued bees foraging for nectar to active pollen collection by female bees foraging for pollen, fly, or hopliine scarab beetle pollination. Dating the nodes of the phylogenetic tree using non-parametric rate smoothing with a calibration point derived from broad dating of the angiosperms indicates that the divergence between Moraea and its sister genus Ferraria occurred about 25 mya in the early Miocene. The early radiation of Moraea took place against a background of aridification and the spread of open habitats, such as desert, shrubland, and fynbos.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 10/2002; 25(2):341-360. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic relationships among nine genera and 28 species of the southern African tribe Podalyrieae were estimated from sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA as well as morphological and chemical data. Morphological and ITS sequence data produced cladograms with similar topologies, both supporting the monophyly of Podalyrieae (excluding Hypocalyptus). The combined data sets indicate that subtribe Xiphothecinae are monophyletic, but embedded within Podalyriinae. The high degree of congruence between previous taxonomic hypotheses and those based on DNA data provides further evidence for the utility of ITS sequences in studying phylogeny. © 2002 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 139, 159–170.
    Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 01/2002; 139(2):159-170. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Iridaceae are one of the largest families of Lilianae and probably also among the best studied of monocotyledons. To further evaluate generic, tribal, and subfamilial relationships we have produced four plastid DNA data sets for 57 genera of Iridaceae plus outgroups: rps4, rbcL (both protein-coding genes), the trnL intron, and the trnL-F intergenic spacer. All four matrices produce similar although not identical trees, and we thus analyzed them in a combined analysis, which produced a highly resolved and well-supported topology, in spite of the fact that the partition homogeneity test indicated strong incongruence. In each of the individual trees, some genera or groups of genera are misplaced relative to morphological cladistic studies, but the combined analysis produced a pattern much more similar to these previous ideas of relationships. In the combined tree, all subfamilies were resolved as monophyletic, except Nivenioideae that formed a grade in which Ixioideae were embedded. Achlorophyllous Geosiris (sometimes referred to Geosiridaceae or Burmanniaceae) fell within the nivenioid grade. Most of the tribes were monophyletic, and Isophysis (Tasmanian) was sister to the rest of the family; Diplarrhena (Australian) fell in a well-supported position as sister to Irideae/Sisyrinchieae/Tigridieae/Mariceae (i.e., Iridoideae); Bobartia of Sisyrinchieae is supported as a member of Irideae. The paraphyly of Nivenioideae is suspicious due to extremely high levels of sequence divergence, and when they were constrained to be monophyletic the resulting trees were only slightly less parsimonious (<1.0%). However, this subfamily also lacks clear morphological synapomorphies and is highly heterogeneous, so it is difficult to develop a strong case on nonmolecular grounds for their monophyly.
    American Journal of Botany 11/2001; 88(11):2074-87. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Cape flora of South Africa grows in a continental area with many diverse and endemic species. We need to understand the evolutionary origins and ages of such 'hotspots' to conserve them effectively. In volcanic islands the timing of diversification can be precisely measured with potassium-argon dating. In contrast, the history of these continental species is based upon an incomplete fossil record and relatively imprecise isotopic palaeotemperature signatures. Here we use molecular phylogenetics and precise dating of two island species within the same clade as the continental taxa to show recent speciation in a species-rich genus characteristic of the Cape flora. The results indicate that diversification began approximately 7-8 Myr ago, coincident with extensive aridification caused by changes in ocean currents. The recent origin of endemic species diversity in the Cape flora shows that large continental bursts of speciation can occur rapidly over timescales comparable to those previously associated with oceanic island radiations.
    Nature 08/2001; 412(6843):181-3. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Iridaceae are one of the largest families of Lilianae and probably also among the best studied families of monocotyledons. To further evaluate generic, tribal and subfamilial relationships, we have produced four plastid DNA data sets for 57 genera of Iridaceae plus outgroups: rps4, rbcL (both protein coding genes), and the trnL intron snd the trnL-F inter-gene spacer. All four matrices produce highly congruent, although not identical trees, and we thus analysed them in a combined analysis, which produced a highly resolved and well supported topology. In each of the individual trees, some genera or groups of genera are misplaced relative to Goldblatt's and Rudall's morphological cladistic studies, but the combined analysis produced a pattern much more similar to these previous ideas of relationships. In the combined tree, all subfamilies were resolved as monophyletic clades, except Nivenioideae, which formed a grade in which Ixioideae were embedded. The achlorophyllous Geosiris (sometimes referred to Geosiridaceae or Burmanniaceae) fell within the nivenioid grade. Most of the tribes are monophyletic, except for Ixieae, Watsonieae and Sisyrinchieae, but the topology within Ixioideae is not strongly supported due to extremely low levels of sequence divergence. Isophysis is sister to the rest of the family, and Diplarrhena falls in a well supported position as sister to Irideae/Sisyrinchieae/Tigridieae/Mariceae; Bobartia of Sisyrinchieae is supported as a member of Irideae. KEY WORDS -Iridaceae, systematics, DNA.
    Annali di Botanica (Roma) nuova serie. 01/2001; 1(2):29-452.
  • Monocots: Systematics and Evolution. 01/2000; 1(CSIRO, Melbourne):360–371.
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    ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic relationships of Asphodelaceae were investigated by parsimony analysis of 57 monocotrbcL nucleotide sequences, including 17 genera that have at some time been assigned to the family. All genera of Asphodelaceae except for three (Hemiphylacus, Paradisea and Simethis) form a strongly supported monophyletic group with Hemerocallidaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae as their immediate sister taxa. In a second analysis, we added 34 plastid trnL-F sequences (an intron and a spacer between two transfer RNA genes) for the Asphodelaceae clade and nearest outgroup families (Doryanthaceae, Hemerocallidaceae, Iridaceae, Ixioliriaceae, Tecophilaeaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae) in an attempt to improve resolution and levels of internal support. The results from the separate analyses produced highly similar although not identical results. No strongly supported incongruent groups occurred, and we combined both sequence regions in one analysis, which demonstrated improved results. Strong support exists for a monophyletic subfamily Alooideae, but this leaves a paraphyletic subfamily Asphodeloideae because Bulbine/Jodrellia alone are strongly supported as the sister group of Alooideae. Characters that have been used to separate Alooideae as a distinct group (either as here a subfamily or as a separate family by other authors), such as secondary growth and bimodal karyotypes, are found in at least some members of Asphodeloideae, particularly in Bulbine and Jodrellia for the karyotypes, making Alooideae less easily recognized.
    Annals of Botany - ANN BOT. 01/2000; 86(5):935-951.

Publication Stats

893 Citations
184.33 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011
    • University of Cape Town
      • Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
      Cape Town, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • 2000–2011
    • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
      • Jodrell Laboratory
      TW9, England, United Kingdom
  • 2003
    • Washington State University
      • School of Biological Sciences
      Pullman, WA, United States
  • 2002
    • Missouri Botanical Garden
      San Luis, Missouri, United States