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CpDNA-based species identification and phylogeography: application to African tropical tree species

Authors

  • J. DUMINIL,

    1. Service Evolution Biologique et Ecologie, CP160/12, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 Av. F. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
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  • M. HEUERTZ,

    1. Service Evolution Biologique et Ecologie, CP160/12, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 Av. F. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
    2. Department of Biodiversity and Conservation, Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Plaza de Murillo, 2, E-28014 Madrid, Spain
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  • J.-L. DOUCET,

    1. Laboratoire de Foresterie des Régions tropicales et subtropicales, Unité de Gestion des Ressources forestières et des Milieux naturels, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Université de Liège, Passage des Déportés, 2 – 5030 Gembloux, Belgium
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  • N. BOURLAND,

    1. Laboratoire de Foresterie des Régions tropicales et subtropicales, Unité de Gestion des Ressources forestières et des Milieux naturels, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Université de Liège, Passage des Déportés, 2 – 5030 Gembloux, Belgium
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  • C. CRUAUD,

    1. CEA, DSV, Institut de Génomique, Genoscope, 2 rue Gaston Crémieux, CP5706, 91057 Evry, France
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  • F. GAVORY,

    1. CEA, DSV, Institut de Génomique, Genoscope, 2 rue Gaston Crémieux, CP5706, 91057 Evry, France
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  • C. DOUMENGE,

    1. Unité Biens et Services des Ecosystèmes Forestiers, CIRAD, TA C-105/D, Campus International de Baillarguet, F-34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
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  • M. NAVASCUÉS,

    1. Équipe Éco-évolution Mathématique, CNRS UMR 7625 Écologie et Évolution, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, École Normale Supérieure, UMR 7625, 46 rue d’Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France
    2. INRA, UMR CBGP (INRA/IRD/Cirad/Montpellier SupAgro), Campus International de Baillarguet, CS 30016, F-34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez Cedex, France
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  • O. J. HARDY

    1. Service Evolution Biologique et Ecologie, CP160/12, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 Av. F. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Jérôme Duminil, Fax: +32 2650 2445; E-mail: jduminil@ulb.ac.be

Abstract

Despite the importance of the African tropical rainforests as a hotspot of biodiversity, their history and the processes that have structured their biodiversity are understood poorly. With respect to past demographic processes, new insights can be gained through characterizing the distribution of genetic diversity. However, few studies of this type have been conducted in Central Africa, where the identification of species in the field can be difficult. We examine here the distribution of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) diversity in Lower Guinea in two tree species that are difficult to distinguish, Erythrophleum ivorense and Erythrophleum suaveolens (Fabaceae). By using a blind-sampling approach and comparing molecular and morphological markers, we first identified retrospectively all sampled individuals and determined the limits of the distribution of each species. We then performed a phylogeographic study using the same genetic data set. The two species displayed essentially parapatric distributions that were correlated well with the rainfall gradient, which indicated different ecological requirements. In addition, a phylogeographic structure was found for E. suaveolens and, for both species, substantially higher levels of diversity and allelic endemism were observed in the south (Gabon) than in the north (Cameroon) of the Lower Guinea region. This finding indicated different histories of population demographics for the two species, which might reflect different responses to Quaternary climate changes. We suggest that a recent period of forest perturbation, which might have been caused by humans, favoured the spread of these two species and that their poor recruitment at present results from natural succession in their forest formations.

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