Historical biogeography of the endemic Campanulaceae of Crete


*Nico Cellinese, Florida Museum of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, PO Box 117800, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. E-mail: ncellinese@flmnh.ufl.edu


Aim  The clade Campanulaceae in the Cretan area is rich in endemics, with c. 50% of its species having restricted distributions. These species are analysed in the context of a larger phylogeny of the Campanulaceae. Divergence times are calculated and hypotheses of vicariance and dispersal are tested with the aim of understanding whether Cretan lineages represent remnants of an older continental flora.

Location  The Cretan area: Crete and the Karpathos Islands (Greece).

Methods  We obtained chloroplast DNA sequence data from rbcL, atpB and matK genes for 102 ingroup taxa, of which 18 are from the Cretan area, 11 are endemics, and two have disjunct, bi-regional distributions. We analysed the data using beast, a Bayesian approach that simultaneously infers the phylogeny and divergence times. We calibrated the tree by placing a seed fossil in the phylogeny, and used published age estimates as a prior for the root.

Results  The phylogenetic reconstruction shows that all Campanula species fall within a well-supported campanuloid clade; however, Campanula is highly polyphyletic. The Cretan endemics do not form a monophyletic group, and species are scattered throughout the campanuloid clade. Therefore, the Cretan taxa did not evolve following a single vicariance or dispersal event. Most Cretan lineages represent remnants of an older continental flora, with the exception of one clade that radiated in situ after island isolation, and one lineage that appears to have arrived by dispersal.

Main conclusions  Most Cretan species were present in the islands at the time of their isolation, and very little long-distance dispersal to Crete and diversification within Crete has occurred since then. Endemism is probably driven by loss of species on the mainland after island isolation. Species on the islands may have been more widespread in the past, but they are now restricted to often inaccessible areas, probably as a result of human pressure.