Poster Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

Historical biogeography of the ancient genus Selaginella ─ Early adaptation to xeric habitats on Pangea (#576)

Kristina Vanessa Klaus 1 , Christian Schulz 1 , Dennise Stefan Bauer 1 , Thomas Stützel 1
  1. Ruhr Universität Bochum, Bochum, NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA, Germany

Selaginella is an ancient genus of the lycophytes with fossils dating back to the Early Carboniferous (Rowe 1988). Plants of this genus are creeping to erect growing, herbaceous plants. The genus Selaginella has a cosmopolitan distribution with main distribution areas in the tropics and subtropics of Asia and South America (Jermy 1990). The genus comprises approximately 700 species (Jermy 1990) and 6 subgenera, according to the most recent classification (Zhou and Zhang 2015). Here, we present a global time tree for the genus Selaginella based on a concatenated sequence dataset containing DNA marker regions rbcL and ITS1 5.8S ITS2. The taxon sampling comprises 200 species from all major distribution areas. The time calibrated phylogeny was estimated using the BEAST package (Drummond et al. 2012). Calibration was performed using age records of the fossils Lepidosigillaria (Bateman 1992) and Selaginella resimus (Rowe 1988) which could be assigned to specific nodes within the phylogeny. The R package BioGeoBears (Matzke 2013) was used to estimate ancestral areas and to test for altering reconstruction models. The biogeographic reconstructions suggest that Selaginella originated in Laurussia (Euramerica), the second largest land mass of the Devonian and Early Carboniferous. The divergence of the two major lineages within Selaginella and an ecological adaptation to xeric habitats already took place in the Early Permian, when the two major land masses Laurussia and Gondwana merged together and formed the supercontinent Pangea. Ancestral areas of the subgenera, as well as historical long distance-dispersal versus vicariance events, were discussed under the aspect of plate tectonic and historical climate conditions.

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