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How the temperate world was colonised by bindweeds: Biogeography of the Convolvuleae (Convolvulaceae)


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Background At a global scale, the temperate zone is highly fragmented both between and within hemispheres. This paper aims to investigate how the world’s disjunct temperate zones have been colonised by the pan-temperate plant group Convolvuleae, sampling 148 of the c. 225 known species. We specifically determine the number and timing of amphitropical and transoceanic disjunctions, investigate the extent to which disjunctions in Convolvuleae are spatio-temporally congruent with those in other temperate plant groups and determine the impact of long-distance dispersal events on diversification rates. ResultsEight major disjunctions are observed in Convolvuleae: two Northern Hemisphere, two Southern Hemisphere and four amphitropical. Diversity in the Southern Hemisphere is largely the result of a single colonisation of Africa 3.1–6.4 Ma, and subsequent dispersals from Africa to both Australasia and South America. Speciation rates within this monophyletic, largely Southern Hemisphere group (1.38 species Myr−1) are found to be over twice those of the tribe as a whole (0.64 species Myr-1). Increased speciation rates are also observed in Calystegia (1.65 species Myr−1). Conclusions The Convolvuleae has colonised every continent of the world with a temperate biome in c. 18 Myr and eight major range disjunctions underlie this broad distribution. In keeping with other temperate lineages exhibiting disjunct distributions, long-distance dispersal is inferred as the main process explaining the patterns observed although for one American-Eurasian disjunction we cannot exclude vicariance. The colonisation of the temperate zones of the three southern continents within the last c. 4 Myr is likely to have stimulated high rates of diversification recovered in this group, with lineage accumulation rates comparable to those reported for adaptive radiations.
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RES E A R C H A R T I C L E Open Access
How the temperate world was colonised by
bindweeds: biogeography of the
Convolvuleae (Convolvulaceae)
Thomas C. Mitchell
, Bethany R. M. Williams
, John R. I. Wood
, David. J. Harris
, Robert W. Scotland
and Mark A. Carine
Background: At a global scale, the temperate zone is highly fragmented both between and within hemispheres.
This paper aims to investigate how the worlds disjunct temperate zones have been colonised by the pan-temperate
plant group Convolvuleae, sampling 148 of the c. 225 known species. We specifically determine the number and
timing of amphitropical and transoceanic disjunctions, investigate the extent to which disjunctions in Convolvuleae are
spatio-temporally congruent with those in other temperate plant groups and determine the impact of long-distance
dispersal events on diversification rates.
Results: Eight major disjunctions are obser ved in Convolvuleae: two Northern Hemisphere, two Southern
Hemisphere and four amphitropical. Diversity in the Southern Hemisphere is largely the result of a single colonisation
of Africa 3.16.4 Ma, and subsequent dispersals from Africa to both Australasia and South America. Speciation rates
within this monophyletic, largely Southern Hemisphere group (1.38 species Myr
) are found to be over twice those of
the tribe as a whole (0.64 species Myr
. Increased speciation rates are also observed in Calystegia (1.65 species Myr
Conclusions: The Convolvuleae has colonised every continent of the world with a temperate biome in c. 18 Myr and
eight major range disjunctions underlie this broad distribution. In keeping with other temperate lineages exhibiting
disjunct distributions, long-distance dispersal is inferred as the main process explaining the patterns observed although
for one American-Eurasian disjunction we cannot exclude vicariance. The colonisation of the temperate zones of the
three southern continents within the last c. 4 Myr is likely to have stimulated high rates of diversification recovered in
this group, with lineage accumulation rates comparable to those reported for adaptive radiations.
Keywords: Amphitropical, Calystegia, Convolvulus, Disjunction, Diversification rates, Polymeria, Temperate, Transoceanic
The successful colonisation of temperate biomes by trop-
ical lineages has involved the crossing of a significant
physiological barrier that has acted as an important filter
[1]. As a consequence, approximately half of all plant fam-
ilies remain restricted to the tropics [2]. Lineages that have
made the transition to temperate biomes have experienced
different fates with some lineages expanding their ranges
to occupy highly disjunct areas where a suitable climate
occurs, with distributions spanning both different con-
tinents and different hemispheres. Whilst the processes
responsible for such patter ns ar e complex [36], long-
distance dispersal (LDD) event s have been proposed for
many such disjunctions and they may have acted as
triggers for diversification [7, 8].
Thorne [9] recognised fifteen temperate disjunction
patterns, several of which have since been the focus of
molecular phylogenetic studies to understand the extent
to which vicariance and dispersal explain biogeographic
patterns in temperate plant lineages (e.g., the eastern
North AmericanE ast Asian disjunction [10]; the tem-
perate North and South American disjunction [11]; the
western North AmericanEast Asian disjunction [12]).
* Correspondence:
Equal contributors
Plant Biodiversity Research, Technische Universität München, Emil-Ramann
Strasse 2, 85354 Freising, Germany
Full list of author informa tion is available at the end of the article
© 2016 Mitchell et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
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( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16
DOI 10.1186/s12862-016-0591-6
One of the patterns documented by Thorne [9] was the
NorthSouth Temperate disjunction which describes
groups that are widespread in the northern temperate
region and that also occur in one or more of the southern
temperate zones (i.e., those located in South America,
Africa and Australasia).
The Convolvuleae (Choisy) Choisy is one of 12
tribes within the predominantly tropical plant family
Convolvulaceae Juss. [13]. It is one of only two tribes
regions (the other being the parasitic Cuscuteae) and it
exhibits Tho rnes Northsouth Temperate disjunction
pattern. The Convolvuleae comprises three genera
namely Convolvulus L., Calystegia R.Br. and Polymeria
R.Br.. Convolvulus is the largest, comprising 190 spe cies
[14]. It has a main centre of diversity in the Mediterranean
and western Asia, with further centres of diversity in
eastern Asia and in temperate South America, southern
and eastern Africa and Australasia; i.e., the three temperate
zones of the southern hemisphere. Species also occur in
North America, although they are few in number. Calyste-
gia is readily distinguished from Convolvulus based on
morphological characters (namely polypantoporate pollen
and stigma shape) but molecular analyses suggest it is
nested within the larger Convolvulus clade [13, 15, 16].
Calystegia is taxonomically complex [17] with c. 26 species
and more than 65 distinct taxa currently accepted [18].
The centre of diversity for Calystegia is in California where
nearly half of the described taxa occur [19]. Other centres
of diversit y for Calystegia are found in eastern Asia and, to
a lesser extent Europe and the Mediterranean. Calystegia
also occurs in temperate regions of the Southern
Hemisphere. Finally, the Australasian endemic Polymeria is
the smallest of the three genera of Convolvuleae with eight
species recognised [18]. Molecular analyses place it as sister
group to the remainder of Convolvuleae [13, 15, 16].
A recent study by Williams et al. [16] established a
robust phylogenetic hypothesis of the Convolvuleae that
sampled 62 % of species diversity in the tribe and was
based on data from both the nuclear ITS region and the
chloroplast matKandrbcL regions. The goal of this paper
is to utilise that phylogenetic framework to determine how
the NorthSouth Temperate disjunction pattern displayed
by Convolvuleae was generated. Specifically, we aim to (i)
determine the number, timing and cause (dispersal versus
vicariance) of amphitropical and transoceanic disjunctions
in the pan-temperate Convolvuleae and (ii) determine how
major disjunctions in the history of the group may have
impacted on diversification rates.
Convolvulaceaesolanaceae analysis
An alignment comprising 153 species of Convolvulaceae
(of which 109 were Convolvuleae; eight Polymeria,11
Calystegia,90Convolvulus) and 343 species of Solanaceae
(126 Solanoideae) and 1328 characters from the matKand
rbcL regions (of which 538 were parsimony informative)
was used to establish divergence times within Convolvula-
ceae. The rbcL region was coded with missing data for 241
taxa, of which four were Convolvuleae. A chronogram with
major groups is summarised in Additional file 1. The Con-
volvulaceae are resolved to have arisen 44.1 (95 % HPD
33.951.2) Ma, in agreement with Särkinen et al. [20]. Age
estimates established for nodes within Solanaceae are also
in agreement with Särkinen et al. [20]. Within Convolvula-
ceae, the Convolvuloideae sensu Stefanović et al. [21] is
resolved as 20.9 (14.327.5) Myr old, with the Convolvu-
leae crown group ( corresponding to the split between Poly-
meria and the Convolvulus + Calystegia clade) resolved at
17.9 (11.823.7) Ma.
Convolvuleae analysis
Five areas of endemism within Convolvuleae were
delimited using UPGMA clustering of species by country
distribution data (Fig. 1a). A Convolvuleae alignment
consisted of 148 species of Convolvuleae (11 Polymeria,
18 Calystegia, 119 Convolvulus) and 2033 characters
from the rbcL, matK and ITS regions (matrix deposited
in TreeBASE, study 18623). Divergence times estimated
in BEAST using calibration points derived from the
Solanaceae-Convolvulaceae analysis above and ancestral
area reconstructions estimated using LAGRANGE are
provided in Fig. 1b with Table 1 summarising the infor-
mation for key nodes of interest.
The ancestral area of the Convolvulus + Calystegia clade
is inferred to be the Mediterranean-and-Middle-East (area
A in Fig. 1a; node 2). Dispersal between contiguous areas
(i.e., AB, AC, CD (Fig. 1a)) occurred frequently (Fig. 1b).
Movement between disjunct (i.e., non-contiguous) areas
has been much less common and eight such events are
inferred. These are, in order of recency: (i) amphitropical
disjunction between Australasia (Area G) and the
Mediterranean-and-Middle-Ea st (Area A) (posterior
probability for node (PP) = 1) dated 17.61 Ma (95 %
highest posterior density (HPD): 13.5021.56 Ma)
(node 1; Fig. 1b; Table 1), (ii) Northern hemisphere
disjunction between the Mediterranean-and-Middle-
East (A) and North America (F) (PP = 1) dated 5.92 Ma
(3.538.6 Ma) (node 16), (iii) Northern hemisphere dis-
junction between Central-and-North-Eastern-Asia (B) and
North America (F) (PP = 1), dated 5.56 Ma (3.458.26 Ma)
(node 12), (iv) amphitropical disjunction between the
Mediterranean-and-Middle-East (A) and Southern-and-
Eastern-Africa (D) (PP = 1) dated 4.62 Ma (3.126.41 Ma)
(node 5), (v) transoceanic southern hemisphere disjunction
between Southern-and-Eastern-Africa (D) and Australasia
(G) (PP = 1), dated 3.06 Ma (1.994.41 Ma) (node 6), (vi)
weakly supported transoceanic southern hemisphere
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 2 of 12
Fig. 1 (See legend on next page.)
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 3 of 12
disjunction between Southern-and-Ea stern-Africa (D)
and South America (E) (PP = 0.52) dated a s 1.15 Ma
(0.651.78 Ma) (node 8), (vii) weakly supported (PP = 0.59)
amphitropical disjunction between South America (E) and
North America (F), dated 0.57 Ma (0.181.03 Ma) (node 9)
and (viii) weakly supported (PP = 0.79) amphitropical
disjunction between North America (F) and the Southern
Hemisphere (Australasia (G), South America (E) or both,
node 15), dated 0.82 Ma (0.31.53 Ma)
Diversification rate analysis
BAMM analysis found support for rate shifts within the
Convolvuleae phylogeny compared with a single rate
model (Bayes factors (BF) > 30 for 26 shifts). The max-
imum a posteriori (MAP) probability rate shift configur-
ation, which alone explains 56 % of the data , infers two
rate shifts: one on the stem branch of the southern
hemisphere clade (Fig. 2; group A; BF = 755) and one on
the stem branch of Calystegia (Fig. 2; group B; BF = 424)
(Additional file 2a). Mean speciation rates (λ) within the
circum-South Temperate (cST) clade (1.38, 90 % HPD:
0.712.07) and Calystegia (1.65, 90 % HPD: 0.612.73)
are over twice those of the tribe as a whole (0.64, 90 %
HPD: 0.50.83). Extinction rates (μ) however are also
slightly higher in both the cST clade (0.47, 90 % HPD:
0.041.19) and Calystegia (0.86, 90 % HPD: 0.142.07)
than in Convolvuleae as a whole (0.31, 90 % HPD: 0.11
0.58). Mean d iversification rates (λ - μ)inthecSTclade
(0.91 species Myr
) are therefore nearly three times greater
), while those
in Calystegia are over twice as fast (0.8 species Myr
Convolvuleae in general. Extinction rates are inferred to
have remained fairly constant over the history of the tribe,
however speciation rates appear to ha ve increased consider -
ably in the last 2.5 Myr (Additional file 2b).
Both the worlds oceans and the equatorial tropics
present barriers to dispersal of temperate lineages, po-
tentially limit ing exchange between the disjunct temper-
ate zones of the world. In Convolvuleae, we observe four
amphitropical an d four transoceanic disjunctions in the
history of the group with an increase in diversification
rate associated with one amphitropical disjunction (the
main group of Convolvulus in the southern hemisphere).
A second increase in diversification rate is observed in
Calystegia which also exhibits a transoceanic disjunction.
The four amphitropical disjunctions are spread through-
out the history of the tribe (Fig. 1b, nodes 1, 5, 9 and 16).
The earliest dates to the mid-Miocene (17.61 (13.521.56)
endemic Polymeria from the remainder of Convolvuleae
(Convolvulus + Calystegia), for which the Mediterranean-
and-Middle-East is resolved as the ancestral distribution
area. T his spatio-temporal pattern is consistent with the
inferred timing of the disjunction between Australia and
Eurasia in Carex subsect. Spirostachyae (c.1626 Ma [22])
and in Halosarcia (c.1520 Ma [23]). Escudero et al. [22]
invoked LDD to explain this disjunction although the tim-
ing is coincident with the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum
1517 Ma, which saw the expansion of tropical forests, an
event that is thought to have facilitated the dispersal of
tropical plant and animal groups between Africa and Asia
[24]. It is plausible that a corresponding contraction of
temperate areas may have led to the disjunction apparent
in these groups. S ärkinen et al. [20] resolved a similar sister
grouprelationshipinSolanum between the Western
MediterraneanMacaronesian endemic Normania clade
and the Australasian endemic Archaesolanum clade
and an AustralianNo rther n Hemisphere disjunction
was also infe rred for Atr iplex [25].However,thetiming
of these was more re c ent (8.3 Ma and 9.87.8 Ma re-
spectively) suggesting that the history of Australasian
Northern Hemisphere disjunctions is comp lex with
multiple, temporally distinct events likely involved.
A second amphitropical disjunction in Convolvu-
leae is the result of t he colonisation of the Southern
Hemisphere by Convolvulus during the late Miocene
to Pliocene c.4.62(3.126.41) Ma (node 5; Fig. 1b;
Table 1). The most probable scenario involves dis-
persal from the Mediterranean-and-Middle-East into
Southern-and-Ea stern-Africa , followed by dispersal
from there to Australasia c.3.06(1.994.41) Ma
(node 6) and South America c.1.15(0.651.78) Ma
(node 8) although the precise relationships of African and
American taxa are not well supported. The mountains of
the East African rift system, which link Southern Africa
with the Horn of Africa are thought to have originated c.
1240 Ma [26] and they provide a plausible trans-African
dispersal corridor for Convolvuleae as has been suggested
for other temperate taxa (e.g., Senecio [27]; Disa, Irideaeae
(See figure on previous page.)
Fig. 1 Phylogeny of Convolvuleae. a) Map depicting the areas of endemism for Convolvuleae delimited using UPGMA analysis. b) Dated phylogeny of
Convolvuleae inferred in BEAST from analysis of the concatenated ITS, matKandrbcL dataset. Node bars represent 95 % HPD estimates. Scale bar
represent millions of years before present. Coloured branches and taxon names indicate the distribution area inferred in LAGRANGE, as shown in Fig. 1a.
Black branches indicate ambiguous areas (less than 0.2 lnL difference between first and second most likely distribution). Grey branches indicate a multiple
area distribution. Numbers at the top-left of nodes a re referred to in Table 1. * indicate the loca tion of calibr ated nodes. Black circles on nodes
indicate nodes with Bayesian Posterior Probabilities of at least 0.95
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 4 of 12
Table 1 Biogeographical inference and minimum age estimates for key nodes
LAGRANGE analysis Molecular dating using BEAST
Node Split lnL Rel. Prob. Node BPP Node age (Myr) 95 % HPD (Myr) Notes
1 G/A 219.5 0.5948 1 17.61 13.5021.56 Convolvuleae crown group. Disjunction (i).
G/AC 221.3 0.1036
2 A/A 219.6 0.565 1 15.89 12.3219.46 Convolvulus + Calystegia crown group.
3 A/A 220.3 0.2739 1 7.34 4.810.55
A/ADG 221.5 0.08379
ABC/A 221.6 0.07558
A/AD 222.1 0.04663
AC/A 222.1 0.04593
AB/A 222.1 0.04531
A/ABD 222.2 0.0.04
4 A/A 220.3 0.2915 1 5.55 3.727.74
A/ADG 220.9 0.1506
A/AD 221.0 0.1379
A/ABD 221.0 0.132
A/ABG 221.7 0.06887
A/AG 221.8 0.06279
A/AB 221.8 0.06069
5 D/AB 220.3 0.2897 1 4.62 3.126.41 Stem of Southern Hemisphere group. Disjunction (ii).
DG/A 220.3 0.2887
D/A 220.7 0.1846
G/AB 221.1 0.1196
G/A 222.1 0.04466
6 G/D 219.1 0.9433 1 3.06 1.994.41 Crown group of the circum-South Temperate (cST group),
Southern-and-Eastern-African to Australasia. Disjunction (iii).
7 D/D 219.1 0.9326 1 2.28 1.463.31 Southern-and-Eastern-African and South American crown group.
8 D/E 219.1 0.9557 0.52 1.15 0.651.78 Southern-and-Eastern-African to South American movement. Disjunction (iv).
9 F/E 219 1.0 0.59 0.57 0.18
1.03 South America to North America movement. Disjunction (v).
10 A/A 219.8 0.4384 1 8.55 5.6211.74 Calystegia and allies crown group.
A/AB 220.2 0.297
A/B 220.8 0.1656
11 AB/B 219.5 0.5995 0.47 7.85
B/B 220.9 0.1513
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 5 of 12
Table 1 Biogeographical inference and minimum age estimates for key nodes (Continued)
12 BF/A 219.9 0.4336 1 5.56 3.458.26 Central-and-North-Eastern-Asia to North America movement, Calystegia stem.
Disjunction (vi).
B/A 219.9 0.3958
13 F/BF 219.5 0.6076 1 2.06 1.283.06 Calystegia crown group.
F/BCF 220.3 0.2656
14 F/B 219.9 0.4225 0.66 1.55 0.882.36
F/BC 220.2 0.3018
BF/B 220.6 0.2156
15 EFG/G 219.5 0.5969 0.79 0.82 0.31.53 Stem node of clade with Amphitropical American to Southern Hemisphere
movement (South America and Australasia). Disjunction (vii).
FG/G 220.0 0.3934
16 A/F 219 1.0 1 5.92 3.538.6 Mediterranean-and-Middle-East to North America disjunction. Disjunction (viii).
LAGRANGE optimisations and BEAST minimum age estimates for key nodes in the Convolvuleae analysis. Node numbers are labelled in Fig. 1b. LAGRANGE splits refer to areas shown in Fig. 1a in the format x/y where x relates
to the top branc h, and y relates to the bottom branch exiting the labelled node. Log likelihoods (lnL) and relative probabilities (Rel. Prob.) are given for each LAGRANGE optimisation within two lnL of the most likely split
optimisation. Bayesian Posterior Probabilities (BPP), mean node ages and 95 % highest posterior density (HPD) estimates inferred in BEAST are given for each node
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 6 of 12
p.p., Pentaschistis, Restionaceae [28]; Androcymbium [29];
Scabiosa [30]). It is notable that whilst some African
amphitropical disjunctions are inferred to be pre-Pliocene
(e.g., Juniperus, 30.5 (14.047.0) Ma [31]; Hyacinthoideae,
18.7 (18.818.7) Ma [32]; Thamnosma, 8.7 (5.312.1) Ma
[33]), Plio Pleistocene disjunctions, consistent with that
observed in Convolvuleae have been reported in a number
of groups. For example, colonisation of southern Africa
from the north through this corridor has been inferred in
Apium (4.1 (1.27.0) Ma [34]), Ranunculus (3.9 (2.65.3)
Ma [35]) and Scabiosa (1.6 (0.72.6) Ma [30]) whilst South
to North colonisation has been inferred for Androcym-
bium (4.0 (2.55.5) Ma and 3.0 (1.54.5) Ma [25]) and,
very recently in Senecio (0.2 (00.4) Ma [27]).
The remaining amphitropical disjunctions are observed
in the New World. Pleistocene dispersal (0.57 (0.181.03)
Ma) from South America to North America is inferred in
the cST group (node 9; Fig. 1b; Table 1). A southwards
dispersal in Calystegia (node 15) is inferred to have oc-
curred at a similar time c.0.82(0.31.53) Ma resulting in
the colonisation of South America and Australasia. How-
ever, limited support (Convolvulus; PP = 0.59, Calystegia;
PP = 0.79) or taxonomic uncertainty (Calystegia)means
that these patterns should be interpreted with caution and
the evolution and biogeography of the Calystegia clade in
particular would benefit from further research.
These limitations notwithstanding , amphitropical
American disjunctions of recent origin have been inferred
in a range of groups with evidence for dispersal in both
directions [4]. Bird mediated dispersal has frequently been
proposed as responsible for such disjunctions due to the
seasonal migration of birds between the Northern and
Southern hemispheres (e.g., [11, 36, 37]). Whilst evidence
for this is largely anecdotal, epizoochoric bird-mediated
LDD between California and Chile has been demonstrated
in Lepidium [36]. In the case of Convolvulus, viable seeds
of Convolvulus arvensis have been recovered from the
digestive tract of migratory killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
up to six days after ingestion [38]. Importantly however,
long-distance internal transport of seeds, even in generally
larger waterbirds has been shown to be limited to around
300 km making extreme long-distance endozoochoric
dispersal unlikely [39]. Montane South American species
Convolvulus such as C. crenatifolius and C. montanus
are frequently found above 1500 m [14] and the Andean
high mountains, which are of late Miocene origin [40],
may have provided a suitable route for the dispersal of
temperate Convolvuleae lineages across the neotropics.
Remarkably few transoceanic dispersal events are neces-
sary to explain the global distribution of the Convolvuleae,
in contrast to groups such as Fabaeae [41]. Between the
major Southern Hemisphere landmasses, we infer only two
such dispersal events which both occurred 0.654.41 Ma,
long after the breakup of the Gondwanan landmass and
too recent to involve an Antarctic corridor [42]. Divergence
time estimates for southern temperate plant groups
Fig. 2 The maximum a posteriori probability rate shift configuration inferred by BAMM. The maximum a posteriori probability rate shift configuration
inferred by BAMM analysis of the Convolvuleae concatenated ITS, matKandrbcL dataset. Branches are coloured according to the rate inferred along
that branch. Speciation rates are given as species Myr
. Two rate shifts are inferred: a) the stem branch of the circum-South Temperate clade (Bayes
factor 755); b) the stem branch of Calystegia (Bayes factor 424)
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 7 of 12
indicate a wide range o f ages, with Convolvu leae dis-
junctions among the most recent [ 42]. Whilst detailed
information on dispersal mechanisms within the tribe
are lacking , the variability o f seed characteristics in
Convolvulaceae [43] and e vidence of long-distance
oceanic seed dispersal elsewhere in the family [44] an-
ecdotally support an oceanic dispersal hypothesis for
the Southern Hemisphere distribution of Convolvuleae.
Two independent events in the late Miocene/Pliocene
are inferr ed to be responsible for the earliest colonisa-
tion of North America. The most likely scenario for the
Calystegia clade is dispersal from the Mediterranean-
and-Middle-E ast into Eastern Asia c. 7.85 Ma (node 11;
Fig. 1b; Table 1) and from the re into North America c.
5.56 (3.458.26) Ma (node 12). The East AsianNorth
American disjunction is one of the best studied disjunc-
tions with numerous examples of movement between
the two regions throughout the Cenozoic [10]. The con-
tinents of the Northern Hemisphere were connected
until 5.45.5 Ma when the Bering Land Bridge joining
North America and Eastern Asia was finally severed [45]. A
circum-Arctic floral region spanning this landmass prior to
the severing of the land connections is frequently hypothe-
sised as responsible for both the similarity and diversity of
the flora in these regions (e.g., [9, 31, 4648]). Given our
estimated age for the Northern Hemisphere disjunction in
Convolvuleae we are unable to reject a vicariance hypoth-
esis for the origin of Calystegia in North America, in con-
trast to all other disjunctions we have inferred.
In the case of Convolvulus simulans (node 16), dispersal
directly from the Mediterranean-and-Middle-East to North
America c. 5.92 (3.538.6) Ma is inferred. A disjunction
between the Mediterranean regions of North America and
Europe (MadreanTethyan) is well documented (see [5])
and long distance dispersal to North America from the
Mediterranean during the late Miocene/Pliocene has been
inferred in a number of lineages (e.g., Exaculum/Schenkia
Zeltnera c.9Ma[49],CrocanthemumHudsonia c.5.2
9.2 Ma [50], Eobassia/Chenolea/Spirobassia Neokochia c.
8.813.1 Ma [51]).
With regards widespread and naturalised Convolvulus
that were excluded from our analyses, comparison between
the phylogeny estimated in Williams et al. [16] and our bio-
geographic inference suggests that both excluded species
(C. arvensis and C. lineatus) probably originated in the
Mediterranean-and-Middle-East region.
The diversification rate analysis reveals mean diversifica-
tion rates for Convolvuleae of 0.34 species Myr
the estimated diversification rates of angiosperms as a
whole (0.0770.089 species Myr
, [52]. Furthermore, two
shifts to increased diversification rates are supported
within the tribe, with strong support for a rate shift in the
southern hemisphere clade (Fig. 2; group A) leading to
mean diversification rates (0.91 species Myr
exceed those of adaptive radiations such as the Hawaiian
radiation of Bidens (0.30.8 species Myr
) [7]. BAMM
suggests the elevated diversification rates are linked to an
increase in speciation rate as opposed to a decrease in
extinction rate ( Table 2). The southern hemisphere clade
contains at least two long-distance oceanic dispersal
events within the Southern Hemisphere (nodes 6 and 8;
Fig. 1b; Table 1) and at least two amphitropical dispersal
events (nodes 5 and 9), with the shift to elevated diversifi-
cation rates associated with the initial dispersal into the
southern hemisphere in the late Miocene or Pliocene. This
is consistent with other studies demonstrating the impact
of Miocene dispersal events important in promoting
diversification [8, 53].
The second diversification rate shift is observed in
Calystegia. BAMM finds support, albeit less strongly, for
a shift to increased diversification rates on the stem
branch of Calystegia (Fig. 2; group B), leading to mean
diversification rates (0.8 species Myr
), over twice as
high as those found in Convolvuleae as a whole. Most of
the divers ity of Calystegia is in North America and spe-
cifically California [19] and dispersal from East Asia into
North America, again in the Miocene/Pliocene could
also have been an important trigger for diversification
within the group.
In summary, our results indicate that the Convolvuleae
has successfully colonised every continent of the world
with a temperate biome in c. 18 Myr. The tropics and
major oceans have been significant dispersal barriers for
the group with only eight major disjunctions underlying
this broad Northsouth temperate distribution pattern.
In keeping with many other disjunct temperate lineages,
long-distance dispersal is inferred as the main process
explaining the patterns o bser ved although for one
American-Eurasian disjunction we cannot exclude vic-
ariance resulting from the severing of the Bering L a nd
Bridge. Even though dispersal is the primary process gen-
erating the patterns observed, spatio-temperal congruence
Table 2 Convolvuleae diversification rates
Parameter Convolvuleae Clade A Clade B
λ mean 0.6415216 1.383068 1.658275
5 % 0.5002688 0.7070913 0.6142909
95 % 0.8320921 2.0741443 2.7378688
μ mean 0.3056936 0.4715051 0.8596539
5 % 0.1067923 0.0443146 0.1363267
95 % 0.5751786 1.1944557 2.0701412
Mean net diversification (λ-μ) 0.335828 0.9115629 0.7986211
Estimated mean 90 % HPD (Highest Posterior Density) speciation (λ),
extinction (μ) and net diversification rates inferred in BAMM for Convolvuleae,
and two clades with shifts to increased diversification rates (Fg. 2; A and B).
Rates are given in species Myr
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 8 of 12
is observed with other temperate disjunct groups suggest-
ing a common explanation for the patterns observed. The
Convolvuleae exhibits high diversification rates overall
when compared to other angiosperm groups and the col-
onisation of the temperate zones of the three southern
continents within the last c. 4 Myr is associated with an
increase in diversification rate with lineage accumulation
rates in the clade comparable to those reported for adap-
tive radiations. The Calystegia clade also exhibits a high
diversification rate which probably reflects rapid diversifi-
cation following colonisation of western North America.
The Convolvuleae thus provide a striking example of the
ability of temperate lineages to rapidly colonise highly
disjunct areas worldwide and to diversify.
Divergence time estimation
The fossil record of Convolvulaceae is poor with none of
the fossils assigned to the family (Convolvulites orichitus
[54], Tricolpites trioblatus [55], C alystegiapoll is microe-
chinatus (in [56]) able to be accurately placed within a
phylogeny. We therefore adopted a two-step calibration
procedure. We first utilised a recent phylogenetic study
of Solanaceae, the sister group to Convolvulaceae [20]
which reviewed all 50 of the known fossils assigned to
the family, a s the basis for calibration points for diver-
gence time estimation within Convolvulaceae based on
chloroplast data. Second, node age estimates from the
chloroplast phylogeny were used to calibrate a combined
nuclear ITS and plastid matK and rbcL phylogeny of
matK and rbcL sequences for C onvolvuleae from
Williams et al. [16] were manually aligned with se-
quences of the same regions for ta xa across the re-
mainder of the Convolvulaceae and Solanaceae, which
were retrie ved f rom GenB ank. Details of all accessions
sampled are included in Additional file 3. The data set s
were concatenated, with ta xa l acking mat K sequences
excluded and taxa lacking rbcL sequences coded with
missing data for this region. Due to the lower l evels of
variationintherbcL region [16] the missing data is
unlikely to have any s ignificant impact on the t ree top-
ology, as it will be overridden by the signal from the
matK region [57].
Following Särkinen et al. [20], we used two calibration
points reflecting the youngest age estimates of the oldest
assignable fossils to constrain (i) the stem node of Solanoi-
deae with a lognormal offset of 23.0 Ma, mean of 0.01, and
standard deviation (SD) of 1.0 and (ii) the Solanaceae stem
node with a lognormal offset of 46.0 Ma, mean of 0.01, and
SD of 1.0. A gamma distribution (shape 0.001, scale 1000)
was used as a prior for the mean mutation rate. Bayesian
time estimation with an uncorrelated lognormal relaxed
clock model was implemented in BEAST v1.8 [58]. Two
independent Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) runs of
200 million generations, sampling every 10,000 generations
were conducted using a Speciation: BirthDeath process
tree prior and the GTR + I + G model. A run sampling only
from the prior probabilities was also performed to evaluate
the performance of the priors. Mixing of the chains and
convergence were assessed using TRACER v1.6 [59] as was
burn-in samples exceeding 200 for all estimated parame-
ters. T he output tree fi les were combined using LOGCOM-
BINER v1.8 (part of the BEAST software package)
discarding the first 10 % of trees of each run as burn in.
TREEANNOTATOR v1.8 (part of the BEAST software
package) was used to combine post burn-in trees from the
two runs, calculate the maximum clade credibility tree and
the mean 95 % higher posterior density (HPD) intervals of
node ages. Final trees were edited in FIGTREE v 1.4.0 [60].
A second divergence time analysis was performed on a
concatenated ITS, matKandrbcL dataset modified from
Williams et al. [16] since the ITS region included greater
taxon sampling within Convolvuleae (see Additional file
3 for sampling details). Due to the separate modes of
evolution, the manually aligned matrix was partitioned into
nuclear and plastid regions and parameters estimated inde-
pendently. Analysis in BEAST followed the protocol for the
ConvolvulaceaeSolanaceae analysis except that minimum
age estimates from the aforementioned analysis were used
to constrain the Convolvuleae root node and Polymeria,
Convolvulus + Calystegia and Calystegia crown nodes with
normally distributed prior at 17.89 Ma (SD = 3.0), 4.76 Ma
(SD = 1.5), 15.18 Ma (SD = 2.5), and 2.7 Ma (SD = 0.8)
respectively, with the distribution reflecting the 95 % HPD
estimates, and MCMC runs were reduced to 20 million
generations, sampling every 1000 generations.
Biogeographic analysis
The extant distributions of all accepted taxa at a country
level were collated, largely from Wood et al. [14]. Wide-
spread taxa and those for which the natural distribution
may have been obscured by frequent introductions/nat-
uralisations (Convolvulus arvensis, Convolvulus lineatus,
Calystegia soldanella, Calystegia pulchra, Calystegia
sepium subsp. sepium, Calystegia sepium subsp. roseata
and all Calystegia silvatica subspecies) were excluded as
were countries with only a single taxon present. Areas of
endemism were then delimited using Unweighted Pair-
Group Method with Arithmetic Mean (UPGMA) cluster-
ing of a taxon × country distribution matrix using the
SørensenDice coefficient [61, 62] in DENDROUPGMA
[63]. Seven areas were delimited (Fig. 1a) and each taxon
was coded as belonging to one or more of these regions.
Given our use of country borders as opposed to ecological
boundaries to delimit areas, we only considered range
shifts between non-contiguous regions as disjunctions.
Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 9 of 12
The historical biogeography of the Convolvuleae was
reconstructed using the dispersalextinctioncladogen-
esis (DEC) model implemented in LAGRANGE v 2.0.1
[64], with taxon distributions coded as above. Three
time slices were incorporated into the DEC model
reflecting the presence or absence of Northern Hemisphere
land connections between the Old and New Worlds. Subse-
quently, Northern America was isolated from the rest of
the Northern Hemisphere 05.5 Ma, a connection existed
between North America and Asia via the Bering Land
Bridge (BLB) 5.515 Ma, and a connection also existed
between North America and Europe via the North Atlantic
Land Bridge (NALB) 1525 Ma. All possible area combina-
tions were permitted throughout. Dispersal probabilities
followed Mao et al. [65], however given the relatively young
age of Convolvuleae, and the subsequent reduction in
major continental movements we simplified the model
from five to three dispersal probabilities: 1.0 for connected
areas , 0.1 for widely disjunct area s and 0.5 for three
combinations of narrowly disjunct areas (area Aarea
D, area Barea F and area Earea F, Fig. 1b).
Diversification rate analysis
Bayesian Analysis of Macroevolutionary Mixtures (BAMM)
v2.0 [66] was used to model the dynamics of speciation and
extinction on the time-calibrated Convolvuleae phylogen-
etic tree. Incomplete and non-random taxon sampling was
incorporated directly into the likelihood calculations by
utilising the r ecent monograph of Convolvulus [14] to place
missing taxa into their respective clades. Two independent
BAMM metropolis-coupled MCMC (MCMCMC) runs,
with three heated and one cold chain, were run for 10
million generations and sampled every 1000 generations.
Convergence of BAMM runs was assessed by computing
ESS of log-likelihoods and numbers of shifts using the
CODA library for R: both parameters had effective sample
sizes > 1000. The first 10 % of samples were discarded as
burn-in. Post-run analysis and visualisation was performed
using the R package BAMMtools v2.0 [67].
Additional files
The data sets supporting the results of this article are
available in the TreeBASE repository, study 18623; http:// and
the following additional files.
Additional file 1: Dated phylogeny of Convolvulaceae and
Solanaceae inferred in BEAST from analysis of the concatenated
matK and rbcL dataset. Node bars represent 95 % HPD estimates.
Bayesian Posterior Probabilities (BPP) 0.95 are given by their respective
nodes. Scale bar represents millions of years before present. * indicate the
location of fossil-calibrated nodes (Särkinen et al. [20]). + indicate the location
of nodes used to calibrate the Convolvuleae phylogeny. (PDF 87 kb)
Additional file 2: BAMM outputs. Phylorate plots (2a) and speciation
rate through time curve for Convolvuleae (2b). Additional file 2a
represents the distinct shift configurations that account for 95% of the
probability of the data (f-values denote the posterior probability of each shift
configuration). Branches are scale colour-coded to indicate rate variation from
red (acceleration) to blue (deceleration). Circles indicate the location of core
rate shifts and are similarly colour-coded, with circle size proportional to the
marginal probability of a shift. Additional file 2b represents a speciation rate
through ti me curve (red) for Convolvuleae. Blue shading represents the
confidence on sp eciation rate at any point in time. (ZIP 474 kb)
Additional file 3: List of accessions included in this study. GenBank
numbers are provided in the respective columns. A dash indicates that
no sequence data was included for that region. (DOCX 26 kb)
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Authors contributions
MAC, RWS, JRIW and DJH conceived the ideas; TCM, BRMW and JRIW
collected the data; TCM, BRMW and MAC analysed the data and led the
writing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Authors information
The authors have broad interests in plant taxonomy, evolution and
biogeography. This study formed part of a collaborative project to
monograph Convolvulus.
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the
Technische Universität München within the funding programme Open
Access Publishing. This study was partially funded by a Syntax grant. We
gratefully acknowledge the Natural History Museum (London), Royal
Botanical Garden Edinburgh and Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew for providing
accesses to herbarium specimens and tissue and the staff of the Molecular
Biology Laboratories and the Wolfson-Wellcome Sequencing Facility at the
Natural History Museum for technical support.
Author details
Plant Biodiversity Research, Technische Universität München, Emil-Ramann
Strasse 2, 85354 Freising, Germany.
Department of Plant Sciences, University
of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.
Royal Botanic Garden
Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR, UK.
Department of Life
Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD,
Received: 30 October 2015 Accepted: 12 January 2016
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Mitchell et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016) 16:16 Page 12 of 12
... With respect to divergence times, one of the primary sources of uncertainty are fossil calibrations (Sanderson and Doyle, 2001;dos Reis and Yang, 2013;Magallón et al., 2013;Warnock et al., 2015;Morris et al., 2018). These are likely to be a particularly important source of uncertainty for Ipomoea, and many other angiosperm genera, because their fossil records are extremely fragmentary (Särkinen et al., 2013;Mitchell et al., 2016;Cardillo et al., 2017;Wilf et al., 2017;Folk et al., 2019). It is therefore difficult to make robust interpretations of the temporal signal in the fossil record, and to use it as a basis to calibrate phylogenies. ...
... This analysis was run for 2,000,000 generations and the final split frequency between runs was <0.01. The topology we recovered is consistent with previous phylogenetic studies of these two families (Stefanović et al., 2003;Särkinen et al., 2013;Simoes et al., 2015;Mitchell et al., 2016). ...
... In Calibration Strategy 1, 2 and 3, the recently discovered fossil, Physalis infinemundi (Wilf et al., 2017) was used as a basis for implementing fossil calibrations. This fossil -dated at around 52 million years (Myr) -is far older than fossil calibrations previously used in Convolvulaceae and Solanaceae, and is also considerably older than previous age estimates for either of these two families (Särkinen et al., 2013;Magallón et al., 2015;Mitchell et al., 2016). Because of this, it places previous assumptions about the timing of evolution within these clades, and the relationship between fossil ages and clade ages, into considerable doubt. ...
Molecular phylogenies are used as a basis for making inferences about macroevolutionary history. However, a robust phylogeny does not contain the information that is necessary to make many of these inferences. Complex methodologies that incorporate important assumptions about the nature of evolutionary history are therefore required. Here, we explore the implications of these assumptions for making inferences about the macroevolutionary history of Ipomoea - a large pantropical genus of flowering plants that contains the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), a crop of global economic importance. We focus on assumptions that underlie inferences of divergence times, and diversification parameters (speciation rates, extinction rates, and net diversification rates). These are among the most fundamental variables in macroevolutionary research. We use a series of novel approaches to explore the implications of these assumptions for inferring the age of Ipomoea, the ages of major clades within Ipomoea, whether there are significant differences in diversification parameters among clades within Ipomoea, and whether the storage root of I. batatas evolved in pre-human times. We show that inferring an age estimate for Ipomoea and major clades within Ipomoea is highly problematic. Inferred divergence times are sensitive to uncertain fossil calibrations and differing assumptions about among-branch-substitution-rate-variation. Despite this uncertainty, we are able to make robust inferences about patterns of variation in diversification parameters within Ipomoea, and that the storage root of I. batatas evolved in pre-human times. Taken together, this study presents novel and generalizable insights into the implications of methodological assumptions for making inferences about macroevolutionary history. Further, by presenting novel findings relating to the temporal dynamics of evolution in Ipomoea, as well as more specifically to I. batatas, this study makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of tropical plant evolution, and the evolutionary context in which economically important crops evolve.
... However, in many empirical studies that include divergence time estimates, the fossil record of the relevant group is considerably more fragmentary. This is especially the case for vascular plants and means that the fossil record provides an uncertain temporal basis upon which to calibrate relaxed clocks, and that different interpretations of the temporal signal within the fossil record can lead to markedly different divergence time estimates (S€ arkinen et al. 2013;Magall on et al. 2015;Lagomarsino et al. 2016;Mitchell et al. 2016;Cardillo et Here, we explore the validity and implications of different assumptions about the fossil record and molecular evolution and also the interaction between these two types of evidence, in Osmundaceae, and Convolvulaceae and Solanaceae (CS). Time-calibrated phylogenies have recently been constructed for these two clades that follow "best practice" approaches (Parham et al. 2012;S€ arkinen et al. 2013;Grimm et al. 2015;Mitchell et al. 2016). ...
... This is especially the case for vascular plants and means that the fossil record provides an uncertain temporal basis upon which to calibrate relaxed clocks, and that different interpretations of the temporal signal within the fossil record can lead to markedly different divergence time estimates (S€ arkinen et al. 2013;Magall on et al. 2015;Lagomarsino et al. 2016;Mitchell et al. 2016;Cardillo et Here, we explore the validity and implications of different assumptions about the fossil record and molecular evolution and also the interaction between these two types of evidence, in Osmundaceae, and Convolvulaceae and Solanaceae (CS). Time-calibrated phylogenies have recently been constructed for these two clades that follow "best practice" approaches (Parham et al. 2012;S€ arkinen et al. 2013;Grimm et al. 2015;Mitchell et al. 2016). Our analyses can therefore be interpreted in the context of commonly used methodologies. ...
... S€ arkinen et al. (2013) assigned these fossils to either Solanaceae (including the stem branch) or Solanoideae (including the stem branch). Four additional fossils have putatively been assigned to Convolvulaceae (MacGintie 1953;Martin 2000Martin , 2001Mitchell et al. 2016;Srivastava et al. 2018), and a further fossil that is drastically older than previously known fossils has recently been assigned to Solanoideae (Wilf et al. 2017). These fossils were not included in this study for two reasons. ...
Relaxed clock methods account for among-branch-rate-variation when estimating divergence times by inferring different rates for individual branches. In order to infer different rates for individual branches, important assumptions are required. This is because molecular sequence data does not provide direct information about rates, but instead provides direct information about the total number of substitutions along any branch, which is a product of the rate and time for that branch. Often, the assumptions required for estimating rates for individual branches depend heavily on the implementation of multiple fossil calibrations in a single phylogeny. Here, we show that the basis of these assumptions is often critically undermined. First, we highlight that the temporal distribution of the fossil record often violates key assumptions of methods that use multiple fossil calibrations with relaxed clocks. With respect to "node calibration" methods, this conclusion is based on our inference that different fossil calibrations are unlikely to reflect the relative ages of different clades. With respect to the fossilised-birth-death-process, this conclusion is based on our inference that the fossil recovery rate is often highly heterogeneous. We then demonstrate that methods of divergence time estimation that use multiple fossil calibrations are highly sensitive to assumptions about the fossil record and among-branch-rate-variation. Given the problems associated with these assumptions, our results highlight that using multiple fossil calibrations with relaxed clocks often does little to improve the accuracy of divergence time estimates.
... The genus Calystegia, an important focus of the current synthesis, is placed in the Convolvuleae with Convolvulus and the only other member of this tribe, the Australian endemic Polymeria. The Convolvuleae is one of only two tribes (with the dodders; Cuscuteae) in this mostly tropical and subtropical family to have widely colonized temperate regions (Mitchell et al. 2016). ...
... The horizontal histograms show diversity of Convolvulus and Calystegia (Fig. 4). Despite the high diversity of Convolvulus worldwide (~200 species; Wood et al. 2015), its presence in North America is limited (Wood et al. 2015, Mitchell et al. 2016). The relatively high diversity of Convolvulaceae in California is due to large numbers of endemic species of Calystegia (Fig. 4). ...
... Almost 200 species of Convolvulus are recognized, with highest diversity in the Mediterranean region (Wood et al. 2015). Convolvulus is poorly represented in North America where it is replaced by Calystegia, also apparently of Mediterranean origin (Wood et al. 2015, Mitchell et al. 2016. Calystegia colonized western North America about 6 mya and experienced explosive speciation (Mitchell et al. 2016) that led to extraordinary diversity in California (Figs. 8 and 9). ...
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Arrival and spread of nonnative plant species can lead to changes in structure and function of the native insect fauna that include shifts in host use by native insect herbivores. Well-documented examples showing that these host shifts also lead to range expansion of native herbivores are, however, surprisingly rare. Evidence for range expansion requires an understanding of the insect's distribution preceding arrival of exotic species. These data often are lacking. The North American psyllid Bactericera maculipennis (Crawford) (Hemiptera: Triozidae), a specialist herbivore on plants in the Convolvulaceae, has been hypothesized to have expanded its geographic range after colonizing the exotic field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis L.; Convolvulaceae). Efforts to test this idea run into the same retrospective problems typical of these analyses, in that the psyllid's host plant and its geographic distribution preceding arrival of C. arvensis are uncertain. We used the psyllid's current association with C. arvensis to help identify its natal (pre-bindweed) host, reasoning that a host shift by this specialist herbivore would be more likely if natal and exotic species are closely related. Phylogenetic analyses of plants, rearing trials, and field records led us to target species of Calystegia R. Brown (hedge and false bindweeds; Convolvulaceae) as natal hosts of B. maculipennis. The current presence of B. maculipennis in regions lacking Calystegia but where C. arvensis is common supported the hypothesis that arrival of the exotic weed C. arvensis has indeed led to range expansion by this host-specialized psyllid.
... We constructed a phylogeny of the plant species based on the PhytoPhylo maximum likelihood megaphylogeny of vascular plants 67,68 with the R (v4.0.1) packages "ape" and "phytools" 69,70 . The positions of the two plant species that were not present in the megaphylogeny data set (Calochortus amabilis and Calystegia collina) were manually added to the tree according to genus-level phylogenetic relationships 71,72 . ...
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Pollen is a unique vehicle for viral spread. Pollen-associated viruses hitchhike on or within pollen grains and are transported to other plants by pollinators. They are deposited on flowers and have a direct pathway into the plant and next generation via seeds. To discover the diversity of pollen-associated viruses and identify contributing landscape and floral features, we perform a species-level metagenomic survey of pollen from wild, visually asymptomatic plants, located in one of four regions in the United States of America varying in land use. We identify many known and novel pollen-associated viruses, half belonging to the Bromoviridae, Partitiviridae, and Secoviridae viral families, but many families are represented. Across the regions, species harbor more viruses when surrounded by less natural and more human-modified environments than the reverse, but we note that other region-level differences may also covary with this. When examining the novel connection between virus richness and floral traits, we find that species with multiple, bilaterally symmetric flowers and smaller, spikier pollen harbored more viruses than those with opposite traits. The association of viral diversity with floral traits highlights the need to incorporate plant-pollinator interactions as a driver of pollen-associated virus transport into the study of plant-viral interactions.
... In recent decades, owing to the advancement of molecular phylogenetic and divergence analyses, evidence has been increasing that long-distance dispersal (LDD) events by wind, oceanic drift and animal migrations play a larger role than originally thought in explaining widespread species distributions (de Queiroz, 2005;Gillespie et al., 2012;le Roux et al., 2014;Nathan, 2006;Nathan et al., 2008;Raxworthy, Forstner, & Nussbaum, 2002;Vences et al., 2003;Viana, Gangoso, Bouten, & Figuerola, 2016;Winkworth, Wagstaff, Glenny, & Lockhart, 2002). Long-distance dispersal, rather than geological vicariance, regardless of the geological histories and ages of island systems, appears to be the principal driver of range evolution and subsequent speciation (Christenhusz & Chase, 2013;de Queiroz, 2005;Dupin et al., 2017;Gallaher, Callmander, Buerki, & Keeley, 2015;Givnish et al., 2004;Mitchell et al., 2016). ...
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Aim The aim of this study was to resolve the phylogenetic placement of island taxa, reconstruct ancestral origins and resolve competing hypotheses of dispersal patterns and biogeographical histories for oceanic island endemic taxa within subgenus Plantago (Plantaginaceae). Location Juan Fernández Islands, the Auckland Islands, Lord Howe Island, New Amsterdam Island, New Zealand, Tasmania, Falkland Islands, Rapa Iti and the Hawaiian Islands. Taxon Island endemics within Plantago (Plantaginaceae), a globally distributed taxonomic group comprising approximately 250 species. Methods We use Bayesian phylogenetic and divergence time analyses and historical biogeographical analysis of molecular sequence data to infer the ancestral origins of the oceanic island species in Plantago. Results Taxa within subgenus Plantago form clades based on geographic proximities and challenge previous phylogenetic relationships and classification based on morphology. We infer that biogeographic histories of oceanic island taxa from multiple islands were shaped by dispersal at different scales and possibly by different types of birds. The highly remote Hawaiian Islands and Rapa Iti were colonized from North American taxa in a pattern corresponding to known migration routes of large marine birds, rather than from New Zealand as previously hypothesized. The island endemics of Juan Fernández, the Falkland Islands, Lord Howe, Auckland Islands and New Zealand are found to have sources in the nearest continental areas. The analyses confirm recent speciation within subgenus Plantago – which is particularly heightened in island lineages in Hawaii and Rapa Iti – but show slightly older divergence times than previous molecular dating studies. Main conclusions Using molecular data to infer ancestral ranges for plants with uncertain taxonomic relationships can greatly improve our understanding of biogeographical histories and help elucidate origins, dispersal modes and routes in widespread lineages with complex distribution patterns such as Plantago. We improve understanding of important floristic exchange areas between continents and islands as a result of long‐distance dispersal. We infer that a combination of both stepping stone dispersal and extreme long‐distance dispersal can shape insular floras, and that multiple floristic areas can be the sources of closely related island taxa. However, despite the successful dispersal of Plantago, radiation in island archipelagos is generally limited suggesting specific traits may limit diversification.
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Desert ecosystems are one of the most fragile ecosystems on Earth. The study of the effects of paleoclimatic and geological changes on genetic diversity, genetic structure, and species differentiation of desert plants is not only helpful in understanding the strategies of adaptation of plants to arid habitats, but can also provide reference for the protection and restoration of vegetation in desert ecosystem. Northwest China is an important part of arid regions in the northern hemisphere. Convolvulus tragacanthoides and Convolvulus gortschakovii are closely related and have similar morphology. Through our field investigation, we found that the annual precipitation of the two species distribution areas is significantly different. Thus, C. tragacanthoides and C. gortschakovii provide an ideal comparative template to investigate the evolutionary processes of closely related species, which have adapted to different niches in response to changes in paleogeography and paleoclimate in northwest China. In this study, we employed phylogeographical approaches (two cpDNA spacers: rpl14–rpl36 and trnT–trnY) and species distribution models to trace the demographic history of C. tragacanthoides and C. gortschakovii, two common subshrubs and small shrubs in northwest China. The results showed the following: (1) Populations of C. tragacanthoides in northwest China were divided into three groups: Tianshan Mountains—Ili Valley, west Yin Mountains—Helan Mountains‐Qinglian Mountains, and Qinling Mountains—east Yin Mountains. There was a strong correlation between the distribution of haplotypes and the floristic subkingdom. The three groups corresponded to the Eurasian forest subkingdom, Asian desert flora subkingdom, and Sino‐Japanese floristic regions, respectively. Thus, environmental differences among different flora may lead to the genetic differentiation of C. tragacanthoides in China. (2) The west Yin Mountains—Helan Mountains‐Qinglian Mountains, and Qinling Mountains—east Yin Mountains were thought to form the ancestral distribution range of C. tragacanthoides. (3) C. tragacanthoides and C. gortschakovii adopted different strategies to cope with the Pleistocene glacial cycle. Convolvulus tragacanthoides contracted to the south during the glacial period and expanded to the north during the interglacial period; and there was no obvious north–south expansion or contraction of C. gortschakovii during the glacial cycle. (4) The interspecific variation of C. tragacanthoides and C. gortschakovii was related to the orogeny in northwest China caused by the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau during Miocene. (5) The 200 mm precipitation line formed the dividing line between the niches occupied by C. tragacanthoides and C. gortschakovii, respectively. In this study, from the perspective of precipitation, the impact of the formation of the summer monsoon limit line on species divergence and speciation is reported, which provides a new perspective for studying the response mechanism of species to the formation of the summer monsoon line, and also provides a clue for predicting how desert plants respond to future environmental changes. In this study, we employed phylogeographical approaches and species distribution models (SDMs) to trace the demographic history of Convolvulus tragacanthoides and Convolvulus gortschakovii, two subshrubs adapted to arid and semi‐arid climate, respectively. Our results show that the long‐term climatic differences between the arid and semi‐arid areas might increase species divergence and local adaptation.
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Most studies of the response of terrestrial vegetation to climate change during the Paleocene‐Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) have focused on individual sites and sections. To get a broader perspective we compiled published records of terrestrial pollen and spores across the Paleocene‐Eocene transition at 38 sites around the globe. For the 10 sites with quantitative data PETM palynofloras were largely distinct in composition from those in the latest Paleocene or post‐PETM early Eocene. We also inferred paleoclimatic conditions at each site from the distributions of nearest living relatives (NLRs) of fossil pollen taxa among present‐day Köppen climate types. The NLRs of Paleocene high‐paleolatitude palynotaxa are most diverse in cooler climates, whereas the NLRs of PETM taxa are more diverse in warmer, wetter climates. At middle‐paleolatitudes NLRs of Paleocene palynotaxa are most diverse in warm, wet climates, whereas NLRs of PETM palynotaxa are most diverse in warm, seasonally dry climates. In the tropics there is little change from Paleocene to PETM in the climate distributions of NLRs. We compared changes in paleoclimate reconstructed from the Köppen distributions of the NLRs with those simulated from the Community Earth System Model (version CESM1.2). Paleoclimatic changes during the PETM inferred from palynological proxies are mostly consistent with modeled climate changes, including the expansion of temperate climates at the expense of cold climate types at high‐paleolatitudes and the expansion of temperate and tropical climates in middle‐paleolatitudes. Despite this concordance, modeled winter temperatures in continental interiors and high‐paleolatitudes remain colder than those reconstructed from NLR distributions.
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Short tandem repeats (STRs) are highly informative genetic markers that have been used extensively in population genetics analysis. They are an important source of genetic diversity and can also have functional impact. Despite the availability of bioinformatic methods that permit large-scale genome-wide genotyping of STRs from whole genome sequencing data, they have not previously been applied to sequencing data from large collections of malaria parasite field samples. Here, we have genotyped STRs using HipSTR in more than 3,000 Plasmodium falciparum and 174 Plasmodium vivax published whole-genome sequence data from samples collected across the globe. High levels of noise and variability in the resultant callset necessitated the development of a novel method for quality control of STR genotype calls. A set of high-quality STR loci (6,768 from P . falciparum and 3,496 from P . vivax ) were used to study Plasmodium genetic diversity, population structures and genomic signatures of selection and these were compared to genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping data. In addition, the genome-wide information about genetic variation and other characteristics of STRs in P . falciparum and P . vivax have been available in an interactive web-based R Shiny application PlasmoSTR ( ).
Convolvulaceae Juss. is a family of vines and shrubs composed of species of ecological and economic importance. Ipomoea asarifolia (Desr.) Roem. & Schult. and I. setifera Poir. are ruderal and evergreen weeds that invade pastures and cause intoxication in cattle during the dry season. In the present study, the essential oils (EOs) of the leaves from I. setifera (dry season) and I. asarifolia (dry and wet seasons) were obtained by steam distillation for 3h. The chemical composition of the EOs was determined using gas chromatography coupled to gas spectrometry (CG/MS) and gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (CG-FID). To correlate the toxicity of the major chemical constituents of I. setifera and I. asarifolia EOs, we predicted the inhibition activity against the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and P-glycoprotein 1 (P-gp) using a machine learning-based (ML-based) algorithm. In silico analyses were also applied to evaluate the pharmacokinetics properties related to the penetration in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and gastrointestinal absorption. The chemical composition of the EO of I. setifera was characterized by high levels of (E)-caryophyllene (36.7%) and β-elemene (20.49%). The I. asarifolia EO showed a phytol derivative as the main chemical constituent in the dry season (35.49%), and its content was reduced in the sample collected during the wet season (10.67%). The constituent (E)-caryophyllene was also present in the leaves of I. asarifolia, but at lower levels (15.93-19.93%) when compared to the EOs of I. setifera. Our computational analyses indicated that the constituents caryophyllene oxide, cedroxyde, pentadecanal, and phytol can be related to the toxicity of these weeds. This is the first study to report the chemical composition of I. asarifolia and I. setifera EOs and correlate their molecular mechanism of toxicity using in silico approaches.
Animals frequently evolve unique suites of traits on islands, but whether plants evolve comparable island syndromes remains unresolved. Here, we test the prediction on the basis of natural history observations that insect-pollinated plants evolve smaller flowers on islands than on mainland communities. We examined 556 plant species representing 136 phylogenetically independent contrasts between island and mainland sister taxa. We focused on endemic taxa originating from the Americas associated with seven tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. Contrary to conventional wisdom, flowers were not on average smaller on islands than on the mainland. On specific archipelagos (the Galápagos Islands and Revillagigedo Islands), however, island taxa did evolve smaller flowers. Divergence in flower size between island and mainland taxa also varied among taxonomic families, such that some plant families evolved smaller flowers on islands, other families evolved larger flowers on islands, and some families exhibited no divergence in flower size between island and mainland taxa. Overall, our results show that there is no general island syndrome for flower size, but instead that the evolution of floral morphology is complex and context dependent, depending on variation among islands and plant families. Our results also suggest that if island floras are typically dominated by small flowered species, as suggested by natural history observations, then ecological filtering is a more likely explanation of this pattern than evolutionary divergence postcolonization. We propose future studies that could disentangle the relative roles of ecological filtering and evolution in the distribution of floral traits on islands.
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Ranunculus is distributed in all continents and especially species-rich in the meridional and temperate zones. To reconstruct the biogeographical history of the genus, a molecular phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences has been carried out. Results of biogeographical analyses (DIVA, Lagrange, Mesquite) combined with molecular dating suggest multiple colonizations of all continents and disjunctions between the northern and the southern hemisphere. Dispersals between continents must have occurred via migration over land bridges, or via transoceanic long-distance dispersal, which is also inferred from island endemism. In southern Eurasia, isolation of the western Mediterranean and the Caucasus region during the Messinian was followed by range expansions and speciation in both areas. In the Pliocene and Pleistocene, radiations happened independently in the summer-dry western Mediterranean–Macaronesian and in the eastern Mediterranean–Irano-Turanian regions, with three independent shifts to alpine humid climates in the Alps and in the Himalayas. The cosmopolitan distribution of Ranunculus is caused by transoceanic and intracontinental dispersal, followed by regional adaptive radiations.
Variation in species and genus richness among families of flowering plants was examined with respect to four classification variables: geographical distribution, growth form, pollination mode, and dispersal mode. Previous studies have estimated rates of species proliferation from age and contemporary diversity. Here we found that the earliest appearances in the fossil record are correlated with contemporary familial species richness, abundance in the fossil record, and the independent variables considered in this analysis. Thus, we believe that the fossil record does not provide reasonable estimates of the ages of families and that the rate of species proliferation cannot be calculated from such data without bias. Accordingly, our subsequent analyses were based on contemporary species richness of families. Although the classification variables were interrelated, each made largely independent contributions to familial species richness. Cosmopolitan families were 5.6 times more species-rich than strictly tropical families and 35 times more species-rich than strictly temperate families. Families including both herbaceous and woody growth forms were 5.7 and 14 times more species-rich than families with either growth form alone. Although animal pollination was significantly associated with elevated familial species richness, the effect was statistically weak. The most prominent effect was that families with both abiotic and biotic dispersal had more than 10 times as many species as families with either dispersal mode alone. Our analyses also revealed that families having both dispersal modes were more likely to have several growth forms, suggesting that evolutionary flexibility of morphology may be generalized over diverse aspects of life history. These results do not support the idea that pollination and dispersal by animals were primarily responsible for the tremendous proliferation of angiosperm species, either by producing population structures conducive to speciation or by applying selection for diversification. Instead, the importance of varied dispersal mode, growth form, and climate zone in predicting high familial species richness suggests that a capacity to diversify morphologically and physiologically may have been primarily responsible for high rates of species proliferation in the flowering plants.