Biogeography shaped the metabolome of the genus Espeletia: a phytochemical perspective on an Andean adaptive radiation.
ABSTRACT: The páramo ecosystem has the highest rate of diversification across plant lineages on earth, of which the genus Espeletia (Asteraceae) is a prime example. The current distribution and molecular phylogeny of Espeletia suggest the influence of Andean geography and past climatic fluctuations on the diversification of this genus. However, molecular markers have failed to reveal subtle biogeographical trends in Espeletia diversification, and metabolomic evidence for allopatric segregation in plants has never been reported. Here, we present for the first time a metabolomics approach based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for revealing subtle biogeographical trends in Espeletia diversification. We demonstrate that Espeletia lineages can be distinguished by means of different metabolic fingerprints correlated to the country of origin on a global scale and to the páramo massif on a regional scale. Distinctive patterns in the accumulation of secondary metabolites according to the main diversification centers of Espeletia are also identified and a comprehensive phytochemical characterization is reported. These findings demonstrate that a variation in the metabolic fingerprints of Espeletia lineages followed the biogeography of this genus, suggesting that our untargeted metabolomics approach can be potentially used as a model to understand the biogeographic history of additional plant groups in the páramo ecosystem.
Project description:The páramo ecosystem has the highest rate of diversification across plant lineages on earth, of which the genus Espeletia (Asteraceae) is a prime example. The current distribution and molecular phylogeny of Espeletia suggest the influence of Andean geography and past climatic fluctuations on the diversification of this genus. However, molecular markers have failed to reveal subtle biogeographical trends in Espeletia diversification, and metabolomic evidence for allopatric segregation in plants has never been reported. Here, we present for the first time a metabolomics approach based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for revealing subtle biogeographical trends in Espeletia diversification. We demonstrate that Espeletia lineages can be distinguished by means of different metabolic fingerprints correlated to the country of origin on a global scale and to the páramo massif on a regional scale. Distinctive patterns in the accumulation of secondary metabolites according to the main diversification centers of Espeletia are also identified and a comprehensive phytochemical characterization is reported. These findings demonstrate that a variation in the metabolic fingerprints of Espeletia lineages followed the biogeography of this genus, suggesting that our untargeted metabolomics approach can be potentially used as a model to understand the biogeographic history of additional plant groups in the páramo ecosystem.
Project description:How diversity arises and what is the relative role of allopatric and ecological divergence are among the most persistent questions in evolution and ecology. Here, we assessed whether ecological divergence has enhanced the diversification of the Neotropical alpine plant complex Espeletia, also known as frailejones. This genus has one of the highest diversification rates ever reported and is distributed in the world's fastest evolving biodiversity hotspot, the Páramo (Neotropical alpine grasslands at elevations of c. 2800-4700 m). Our goal was to determine whether ecology plays a role in divergence within the Espeletia complex by quantifying genome-wide patterns of ecological divergence. We characterized 162 samples of the three most common and contrasting ecotypes (distinct morphotypes occupying particular habitats) co-occurring in six localities in the northern Andes using Genotyping by Sequencing. Contrasting ecotypes were caulescent cloud forest populations, caulescent populations from wind-sheltered and well-irrigated depressions and acaulescent populations from wind-exposed drier slopes. We found high polymorphism with a total of 1,273 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that defined the relationships among nine genetic clusters. We quantified allelic associations of these markers with localities and habitats using 18 different general and mixed-effects statistical models that accounted for phylogenetic distance. Despite that these models always yielded more SNPs associated with the localities, markers associated with the habitat types were recovered too. We found strong evidence for isolation-by-distance (IBD) across populations despite rampant gene flow, as expected for plant groups with limited seed dispersal. Contrasts between populations of different habitat types showed that an isolation-by-environment (IBE) trend emerged and masked the IBD signal. Maximum likelihood estimation of the number of migrants per generation (Nem) among ecotypes confirmed the IBE pattern. This result illustrates the importance of mountains' environmental variation at a local scale in generating rapid morphological radiations and maintaining multiple adaptations in a fast-evolving ecosystem like the Páramo.
Project description:A new species of Espeletia from the Páramo de Presidente in northeastern Colombia is described. The species is named Espeletia praesidentis after the name of the páramo, and it is dedicated to the President Juan Manuel Santos, for his persistent efforts in working for peace for Colombia. The new species is closely related to Espeletia dugandii, but differs in the shape and colour of the leaves and arrangements of the capitulescences. A large population was found, but its total extension is yet to be determine.
Project description:Background:Páramo is a tropical alpine ecosystem present in the northern Andes. Its patchy distribution imposes limits and barriers to specialist inhabitants. We aim to assess the effects of this habitat distribution on divergence across two independently flightless ground beetle lineages, in the genera Dyscolus and Dercylus. Methods:One nuclear and one mitochondrial gene from 110 individuals from 10 sites across the two lineages were sequenced and analyzed using a combination of phylogenetics, population genetic analyses, and niche modeling methods. Results:The two lineages show different degrees of population subdivision. Low levels of gene flow were found in Dyscolus alpinus, where one dominant haplotype is found in four out of the six populations analyzed for both molecular markers. However, complete population isolation was revealed in species of the genus Dercylus, where high levels of differentiation exist at species and population level for both genes. Maximum entropy models of species in the Dercylus lineage show overlapping distributions. Still, species distributions appear to be restricted to small areas across the Andes. Conclusion:Even though both beetle lineages are flightless, the dispersal ability of each beetle lineage appears to influence the genetic diversity across fragmented páramo populations, where Dyscolus alpinus appears to be a better disperser than species in the genus Dercylus.
Project description:Understanding the processes that cause speciation is a key aim of evolutionary biology. Lineages or biomes that exhibit recent and rapid diversification are ideal model systems for determining these processes. Species rich biomes reported to be of relatively recent origin, i.e., since the beginning of the Miocene, include Mediterranean ecosystems such as the California Floristic Province, oceanic islands such as the Hawaiian archipelago and the Neotropical high elevation ecosystem of the Páramos. Páramos constitute grasslands above the forest tree-line (at elevations of c. 2800-4700 m) with high species endemism. Organisms that occupy this ecosystem are a likely product of unique adaptations to an extreme environment that evolved during the last three to five million years when the Andes reached an altitude that was capable of sustaining this type of vegetation. We compared net diversification rates of lineages in fast evolving biomes using 73 dated molecular phylogenies. Based on our sample, we demonstrate that average net diversification rates of Páramo plant lineages are faster than those of other reportedly fast evolving hotspots and that the faster evolving lineages are more likely to be found in Páramos than the other hotspots. Páramos therefore represent the ideal model system for studying diversification processes. Most of the speciation events that we observed in the Páramos (144 out of 177) occurred during the Pleistocene possibly due to the effects of species range contraction and expansion that may have resulted from the well-documented climatic changes during that period. Understanding these effects will assist with efforts to determine how future climatic changes will impact plant populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:The genus Erodium is a common feature of Mediterranean-type climates throughout the world, but the Mediterranean Basin has significantly higher diversity than other areas. The aim here is to reveal the biogeographical history of the genus and the causes behind the evolution of the uneven distribution. METHODS:Seventy-eight new nrITS sequences were incorporated with existing plastid data to explore the phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of Erodium using several reconstruction methods. Divergence times for major clades were calculated and contrasted with other previously published information. Furthermore, topological and temporal diversification rate shift analyses were employed using these data. KEY RESULTS:Phylogenetic relationships among species are widely congruent with previous plastid reconstructions, which refute the classical taxonomical classification. Biogeographical reconstructions point to Asia as the ancestral area of Erodium, arising approx. 18 MYA. Four incidences of intercontinental dispersal from the Mediterranean Basin to similar climates are demonstrated. Increases in diversification were present in two independent Erodium lineages concurrently. Two bursts of diversification (3 MYA and 0·69 MYA) were detected only in the Mediterranean flora. CONCLUSIONS:Two lineages diverged early in the evolution of the genus Erodium: (1) subgenus Erodium plus subgenus Barbata subsection Absinthioidea and (2) the remainder of subgenus Barbata. Dispersal across major water bodies, although uncommon, has had a major influence on the distribution of this genus and is likely to have played as significant role as in other, more easily dispersed, genera. Establishment of Mediterranean climates has facilitated the spread of the genus and been crucial in its diversification. Two, independent, rapid radiations in response to the onset of drought and glacial climate change indicate putative adaptive radiations in the genus.
Project description:Madagascar is surrounded by archipelagos varying widely in origin, age and structure. Although small and geologically young, these archipelagos have accumulated disproportionate numbers of unique lineages in comparison to Madagascar, highlighting the role of waif-dispersal and rapid in situ diversification processes in generating endemic biodiversity. We reconstruct the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the genus Psiadia (Asteraceae), a plant genus with near equal numbers of species in Madagascar and surrounding islands. Analyzing patterns and processes of diversification, we explain species accumulation on peripheral islands and aim to offer new insights on the origin and potential causes for diversification in the Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands biodiversity hotspot. Our results provide support for an African origin of the group, with strong support for non-monophyly. Colonization of the Mascarenes took place by two evolutionary distinct lineages from Madagascar, via two independent dispersal events, each unique for their spatial and temporal properties. Significant shifts in diversification rate followed regional expansion, resulting in co-occurring and phenotypically convergent species on high-elevation volcanic slopes. Like other endemic island lineages, Psiadia have been highly successful in dispersing to and radiating on isolated oceanic islands, typified by high habitat diversity and dynamic ecosystems fuelled by continued geological activity. Results stress the important biogeographical role for Rodrigues in serving as an outlying stepping stone from which regional colonization took place. We discuss how isolated volcanic islands contribute to regional diversity by generating substantial numbers of endemic species on short temporal scales. Factors pertaining to the mode and tempo of archipelago formation and its geographical isolation strongly govern evolutionary pathways available for species diversification, and the potential for successful diversification of dispersed lineages, therefore, appears highly dependent on the timing of arrival, as habitat and resource properties change dramatically over the course of oceanic island evolution.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The páramo is a high-elevation biogeographical province in the northern Andes, known for its great biodiversity and ecosystem services. Because there have been very few biogeographic studies encompassing the entire province to date, this study aimed at conducting a phytogeographical regionalisation of the páramo. Specifically, (1) clustering analyses were conducted to identify the main phytogeographical units in the three altitudinal belts: sub-páramo, mid-páramo and super-páramo, and examine their diagnostic flora, (2) an ordination complemented the geo-climatic characterization of the obtained units and (3) a hierarchical classification transformation was obtained to evaluate the relationships between units.<h4>Methods</h4>The study area included the entire Andean páramo range in northern Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The analyses were based on 1,647 phytosociological plots from the <i>VegPáramo</i> database. The K-means non-hierarchical clustering technique was used to obtain clusters identifiable as phytogeographical units, and the Ochiai fidelity index was calculated to identify their diagnostic species. A principal component analysis was conducted to obtain the geo-climatic characterization of each unit. Finally, the relationships between clusters were traced using a hierarchical plot-based classification.<h4>Results</h4>Fifteen clusters were obtained, 13 natural and two artificial, of which two represented the sub-páramo, nine the mid-páramo and four the super-páramo. Even though data representativeness was a potential limitation to segregate certain sub-páramo and super-páramo units, the overall bioregionalisation was robust and represented important latitudinal, altitudinal and climatic gradients.<h4>Discussion</h4>This study is the first to bioregionalise the páramo province based on a substantial widely distributed biological dataset, and therefore provides important novel scientific insight on its biogeography. The obtained phytogeographical units can be used to support further research on the páramo at smaller scale and on the humid Neotropical high-elevation ecosystems at broader-scale. Finally, several units were highlighted in our results as particularly worthy of further scientific and conservation focus.
Project description:The ant-loving beetle genus Panabachia Park 1942 is a poorly studied beetle lineage from the new world tropics. We recently collected Panabachia from several previously unrecorded locations in the páramo biome of the high Ecuadorian Andes, with males exhibiting great morphological variation in the distribution of the foveae and depressions in the pronotum, as well as aspects of the male genitalia. Here, we employ phylogenetic and species delimitation methods with mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear protein-coding (wingless) gene sequences to examine the concordance of morphological characters and geography with hypothesized species boundaries. Three methods of species delimitation (bPTP, GMYC and Stacey) were used to estimate the number of species, and divergence times between putative species using molecular clock calibration. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two parallel radiations, and species delimitation analyses suggest there are between 17 and 22 putative species. Based on clade support and concordance across species delimitation methods we hypothesize 17 distinct clusters, with allopatric speciation consistent with most geographic patterns. Additionally, a widespread species appears to be present in northern páramo sites, and some sister species sympatry may indicate other diversification processes have operated on certain lineages of Panabachia. Divergence time estimates suggest that Panabachia originated in the Miocene, but most species analyzed diverged during the Pliocene and Pleistocene (5.3-0.11 Mya), contemporaneous with the evolution of páramo plant species.
Project description:AIM:We still have limited understanding of the contingent and deterministic factors that have fostered the evolutionary success of some species lineages over others. We investigated how the interplay of intercontinental migration and key innovations promoted diversification of the genus Androsace. LOCATION:Mountain ranges and cold steppes of the Northern Hemisphere. METHODS:We reconstructed ancestral biogeographical ranges at regional and continental scales by means of a dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis analysis using dated Bayesian phylogenies and contrasting two migration scenarios. Based on diversification analyses under two frameworks, we tested the influence of life form on speciation rates and whether diversification has been diversity-dependent. RESULTS:We found that three radiations occurred in this genus, at different periods and on different continents, and that life form played a critical role in the history of Androsace. Short-lived ancestors first facilitated the expansion of the genus' range from Asia to Europe, while cushions, which appeared independently in Asia and Europe, enhanced species diversification in alpine regions. One long-distance dispersal event from Europe to North America led to the diversification of the nested genus Douglasia. We found support for a model in which speciation of the North American-European clade is diversity-dependent and close to its carrying capacity, and that the diversification dynamics of the North American subclade are uncoupled from this and follow a pure birth process. MAIN CONCLUSIONS:The contingency of past biogeographical connections combined with the evolutionary determinism of convergent key innovations may have led to replicated radiations of Androsace in three mountain regions of the world. The repeated emergence of the cushion life form was a convergent key innovation that fostered radiation into alpine habitats. Given the large ecological similarity of Androsace species, allopatry may have been the main mode of speciation.