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Spatio-temporal evolution of Fosterella (Bromeliaceae) in the Central Andean biodiversity hotspot

Authors

  • Natascha Wagner,

    1. Plant Molecular Systematics, Institute of Biology, Department of Sciences, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work and are considered joint first authors.
  • Daniele Silvestro,

    1. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg & Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
    2. Department of Diversity and Evolution of Higher Plants, Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University Frankfurt/M., Frankfurt/Main, Germany
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work and are considered joint first authors.
  • David Brie,

    1. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg & Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
    2. Department of Diversity and Evolution of Higher Plants, Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University Frankfurt/M., Frankfurt/Main, Germany
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  • Pierre L. Ibisch,

    1. Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Eberswalde, Germany
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  • Georg Zizka,

    1. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg & Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
    2. Department of Diversity and Evolution of Higher Plants, Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University Frankfurt/M., Frankfurt/Main, Germany
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  • Kurt Weising,

    Corresponding author
    • Plant Molecular Systematics, Institute of Biology, Department of Sciences, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
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  • Katharina Schulte

    1. Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg & Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
    2. Australian Tropical Herbarium & Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change Centre, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
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  • This article is dedicated to Roberto Vásquez, an extraordinary Bolivian botanist who contributed substantially to the knowledge and taxonomy of the genus Fosterella, on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

Correspondence: Kurt Weising, Plant Molecular Systematics, Institute of Biology, Department of Sciences, University of Kassel, Heinrich-Plett-Str. 40, D-34132 Kassel, Germany.

E-mail: weising@uni-kassel.de

Abstract

Aim

To reconstruct the spatio-temporal evolution of Fosterella (Bromeliaceae), a genus characterized by a high degree of endemism in the Central Andes, and to account for contemporary patterns of diversity and distribution within the genus.

Location

Fosterella has its centre of diversity in the Central Andes (24 species), where it occurs in two major biomes: the Yungas and seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTF). The genus displays three major disjunctions: Amazonia (one species), Central America (one species), and the Brazilian Shield (five species).

Methods

Phylogenetic relationships within Fosterella were inferred based on six plastid DNA regions. Parsimony and likelihood methods, a Bayesian relaxed molecular clock, ancestral area reconstructions, and diversification rate analyses were used to infer the spatio-temporal evolution of Fosterella.

Results

The origin of extant lineages of Fosterella was placed in the late Miocene (c. 9.6 Ma) during the last rapid Andean uplift. SDTF and azonal lowland sites were inferred as the most likely ancestral habitats. The Yungas were colonized several times independently from c. 4.7 Ma onwards. Only one clade diversified in the Yungas, indicative of an ecological shift to moister and cooler conditions. Two recent long-distance dispersals to Central America and to Amazonia were inferred. Diversification rates within Fosterella were found to be constant through time and comparatively low (0.4 species Myr−1).

Main conclusions

Allopatric speciation is the main mode of diversification in Fosterella. The isolated distribution of suitable habitats fostered the evolution of a high degree of endemism. The low speciation rates in Fosterella contrast with high diversification rates of Andean high-elevation taxa but are similar to other Andean low- to mid-elevation taxa. The last rapid Andean uplift did not leave a detectable signature in the diversification rates of Fosterella.

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