Growth form evolution and hybridization in Senecio (Asteraceae) from the high equatorial Andes.
ABSTRACT: Changes in growth forms frequently accompany plant adaptive radiations, including páramo-a high-elevation treeless habitat type of the northern Andes. We tested whether diverse group of Senecio inhabiting montane forests and páramo represented such growth form changes. We also investigated the role of Andean geography and environment in structuring genetic variation of this group. We sampled 108 populations and 28 species of Senecio (focusing on species from former genera Lasiocephalus and Culcitium) and analyzed their genetic relationships and patterns of intraspecific variation using DNA fingerprinting (AFLPs) and nuclear DNA sequences (ITS). We partitioned genetic variation into environmental and geographical components. ITS-based phylogeny supported monophyly of a Lasiocephalus-Culcitium clade. A grade of herbaceous alpine Senecio species subtended the Lasiocephalus-Culcitium clade suggesting a change from the herbaceous to the woody growth form. Both ITS sequences and the AFLPs separated a group composed of the majority of páramo subshrubs from other group(s) comprising both forest and páramo species of various growth forms. These morphologically variable group(s) further split into clades encompassing both the páramo subshrubs and forest lianas, indicating independent switches among the growth forms and habitats. The finest AFLP genetic structure corresponded to morphologically delimited species except in two independent cases in which patterns of genetic variation instead reflected geography. Several morphologically variable species were genetically admixed, which suggests possible hybrid origins. Latitude and longitude accounted for 5%-8% of genetic variation in each of three AFLP groups, while the proportion of variation attributed to environment varied between 8% and 31% among them. A change from the herbaceous to the woody growth form is suggested for species of high-elevation Andean Senecio. Independent switches between habitats and growth forms likely occurred within the group. Hybridization likely played an important role in species diversification.
Project description:A common mode of speciation in oceanic islands is by anagenesis, wherein an immigrant arrives and through time transforms by mutation, recombination, and drift into a morphologically and genetically distinct species, with the new species accumulating a high level of genetic diversity. We investigate speciation in Drimys confertifolia, endemic to the two major islands of the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Chile, to determine genetic consequences of anagenesis, to examine relationships among populations of D. confertifolia and the continental species D. winteri and D. andina, and to test probable migration routes between the major islands. Population genetic analyses were conducted using AFLPs and nuclear microsatellites of 421 individuals from 42 populations from the Juan Fernández islands and the continent. Drimys confertifolia shows a wide genetic variation within populations on both islands, and values of genetic diversity within populations are similar to those found within populations of the continental progenitor. The genetic results are compatible with the hypothesis of high levels of genetic variation accumulating within anagenetically derived species in oceanic islands, and with the concept of little or no geographical partitioning of this variation over the landscape. Analysis of the probability of migration within the archipelago confirms colonization from the older island, Robinson Crusoe, to the younger island Alejandro Selkirk.
Project description:This study develops protocols for the micropropagation and cryopreservation of Dracocephalum austriacum (Lamiaceae). It is a perennial herbaceous plant that overwinters with ground-level sprouts and is classified as critically endangered in Europe. In vitro cultures were initiated from seeds on growth-regulator-free Murashige & Skoog (MS) medium after nicking the seed coat. Propagation via shoot culture was achieved on ½ MS medium with 1 µM benzyl adenine (BAP). Rooting on various indole-3-butyric acid (IBA)-media was not reliable, but the rooting success was 80% after 10 weeks on medium with 1 µM BAP. Two starting materials underwent cryopreservation: (1) shoot tips from cold-acclimated in vitro plantlets and (2) axillary buds from winter shoots from field plants. For the cryopreservation of in vitro shoots, plant vitrification solution (PVS)3 and incubation over ice yielded the best results (~?34% regeneration success). However, regeneration using winter acclimated buds were 100, 76 and 30% for collections in December, February and March, respectively, using the same protocol. Moreover, the ploidy levels of cryopreserved plantlets were estimated using flow cytometry. The use of winter-acclimated field material of temperate herbaceous plants or subshrubs has high potential as explant source for cryopreservation and calls for exploring this technique for other species.
Project description:The recent uplift of the tropical Andes (since the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene) provided extensive ecological opportunity for evolutionary radiations. We test for phylogenetic and morphological evidence of adaptive radiation and convergent evolution to novel habitats (exposed, high-altitude páramo habitats) in the Andean fern genera Jamesonia and Eriosorus. We construct time-calibrated phylogenies for the Jamesonia-Eriosorus clade. We then use recent phylogenetic comparative methods to test for evolutionary transitions among habitats, associations between habitat and leaf morphology, and ecologically driven variation in the rate of morphological evolution. Páramo species (Jamesonia) display morphological adaptations consistent with convergent evolution in response to the demands of a highly exposed environment but these adaptations are associated with microhabitat use rather than the páramo per se. Species that are associated with exposed microhabitats (including Jamesonia and Eriorsorus) are characterized by many but short pinnae per frond whereas species occupying sheltered microhabitats (primarily Eriosorus) have few but long pinnae per frond. Pinnae length declines more rapidly with altitude in sheltered species. Rates of speciation are significantly higher among páramo than non-páramo lineages supporting the hypothesis of adaptation and divergence in the unique Páramo biodiversity hotspot.
Project description:A wide array of molecular markers has been used to investigate the genetic diversity among common bean species. However, the best combination of markers for studying such diversity among common bean cultivars has yet to be determined. Few reports have examined the genetic diversity of the carioca bean, commercially one of the most important common beans in Brazil. In this study, we examined the usefulness of two molecular marker systems (simple sequence repeats - SSRs and amplified fragment length polymorphisms - AFLPs) for assessing the genetic diversity of carioca beans. The amount of information provided by Roger's modified genetic distance was used to analyze SSR data and Jaccards similarity coefficient was used for AFLP data. Seventy SSRs were polymorphic and 20 AFLP primer combinations produced 635 polymorphic bands. Molecular analysis showed that carioca genotypes were quite diverse. AFLPs revealed greater genetic differentiation and variation within the carioca genotypes (Gst = 98% and Fst = 0.83, respectively) than SSRs and provided better resolution for clustering the carioca genotypes. SSRs and AFLPs were both suitable for assessing the genetic diversity of Brazilian carioca genotypes since the number of markers used in each system provided a low coefficient of variation. However, fingerprint profiles were generated faster with AFLPs, making them a better choice for assessing genetic diversity in the carioca germplasm.
Project description:Few studies exist that document how high-elevation Andean ecosystems recover naturally after the cessation of human activities and this can limit the implementation of cost-effective restoration actions. We assessed Andean forest (Polylepis stands) and páramo grassland recovery along an elevation gradient (3,600-4,350 m.a.s.l.) in the Yanacocha Reserve (Ecuador) where natural recovery has been allowed since 1995. Within the Yanacocha Reserve in 2012 and 2014 the aboveground biomass (AGB), aboveground necromass (AGN) and belowground biomass (BGB) carbon (C) stocks were measured and C sequestration rates calculated as proxy of ecosystem recovery. The soil organic carbon (SOC) stock to 36-cm depth was also quantified during the 2012 survey. To explore potential drivers of spatiotemporal variation of the forest and páramo C stocks they were related to abiotic and biotic variables. Andean forest C stocks were influenced mainly by disturbance history and tree-species composition. Páramo C stocks´ spatial variation were related to the elevation gradient; we found a positive significant trend in páramo AGB-C stocks with elevation, whereas we found a significant negative trend in AGN-C stocks. Likewise, significant temporal changes were found for AGB-C and AGN-C stocks. Net increases in AGB-C stocks were the largest in the Andean forest and páramo, 2.5 Mg C ha-1 year-1 and 1.5 Mg C ha-1 year-1 respectively. Carbon sequestration rates were partly explained by environmental variables. In the Andean forest, plots with low dominance of Baccharis padifolia were observed to present higher AGB-C and lower BGB-C sequestration rates. In the páramo, higher sequestration rates for AGB-C were found at higher elevations and associated with higher levels of growth-forms diversity. Temporal changes in BGB-C stocks on the contrary were non-significant. Our results indicated that terrestrial aboveground C sequestration rates might be an appropriate indicator for assessing Andean forest and páramo recovery after human disturbance.
Project description:Recent evidence suggests that survival of arctic-alpine organisms in peripheral or interior glacial refugia are not mutually exclusive and may both be involved in shaping an organism's Pleistocene history, yet potentially at different time levels. Here, we test this hypothesis in a high-mountain plant (diploid lineage of Senecio carniolicus, Asteraceae) from the Eastern European Alps, in which patterns of morphological variation and current habitat requirements suggest survival in both types of refugia. To this end, we used AFLPs, nuclear and plastid DNA sequences and analysed them, among others, within a graph theoretic framework and using novel Bayesian methods of phylogeographic inference. On the basis of patterns of genetic diversity, occurrence of rare markers, distribution of distinct genetic lineages and patterns of range connectivity both interior refugia in the formerly strongly glaciated central Alps and peripheral refugia along the southern margin of the Alps were identified. The presence of refugia congruently inferred by markers resolving at different time levels suggests that these refugia acted as such throughout several glacial cycles. The high degree of range persistence together with gradual range expansion, which contrasts with the extent of range shifts implied for other Alpine species, is likely responsible for incipient lineage differentiation evident from the genetic data. Replacing a simplistic peripheral vs. interior refugia dualism by more complex models involving both types of refugia and considering different time levels will help identifying common phylogeographic patterns with respect to, for instance, location of refugia and colonization routes and elucidating their underlying genetic and/or ecological causes. DNA sequences have been deposited in GenBank under accession nos. FR796701–FR797793 and nos. HE614296–HE614583.
Project description:Platanthera bifolia and P. chlorantha are terrestrial and rewarding orchids with a wide Eurasian distribution. Although genetically closely related, they exhibit significant morphological, phenological and ecological differences that maintain reproductive isolation between the species. However, where both species co-occur, individuals with intermediate phenotypic traits, often considered as hybrids, are frequently observed. Here, we combined neutral genetic markers (AFLPs), morphometrics and floral scent analysis (GC-MS) to investigate two mixed Platanthera populations where morphologically intermediate plants were found. Self-pollination experiments revealed a low level of autogamy and artificial crossings combined with assessments of fruit set and seed viability, showed compatibility between the two species. The results of the genetic analyses showed that morphologically intermediate plants had similar genetic patterns as the P. bifolia group. These results are corroborated also by floral scent analyses, which confirmed a strong similarity in floral scent composition between intermediate morphotypes and P. bifolia. Therefore, this study provided a much more detailed picture of the genetic structure of a sympatric zone between two closely allied species and supports the hypothesis that intermediate morphotypes in sympatry could reflect an adaptive evolution in response to local pollinator-mediated selection.
Project description:AbstractSenecio festucoides is described from northern Chile. The new species is morphologically similar to the discoid caespitose Andean species and belongs to the subgroup displaying yellow corollas and yellowish anthers and style branches. It is characterized by a weak, not self-supporting stem, narrowly linear leaves, long pedunculate capitula with (17–)21 involucral bracts, and minutely papillose achenes. Among other characters, the color of the corollas, anthers, and style branches and the number of involucral bracts differentiate it from S. scorzonerifolius, which is the morphologically closest species. The new species thrives in the desertic Puna ecoregion and grows amongst tufts of Festuca chrysophylla (Poaceae). Detailed pictures of living plants are provided, as well as a distribution map and a dichotomous key to the discoid caespitose Senecio species from northern Chile.
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:Three new species of the genus Senecio (Asteraceae, Senecioneae) belonging to Senecio ser. Suffruticosi subser. Caespitosi were discovered in the tributaries of the upper Tambo River, Moquegua Department, South Peru. Descriptions, diagnoses and discussions about their distribution, a table with the morphological similarities with other species of Senecio, a distribution map, conservation status assessments, and a key to the caespitose Peruvian species of Senecio subser. Caespitosi are provided. The new species are Senecio moqueguensis Montesinos, sp. nov. (Critically Endangered) which most closely resembles Senecio pucapampaensis Beltrán, Senecio sykorae Montesinos, sp. nov. (Critically Endangered) which most closely resembles Senecio gamolepis Cabrera, and Senecio tassaensis Montesinos, sp. nov. (Critically Endangered) which most closely resembles Senecio moqueguensis Montesinos.