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Phylogeny of Selaginellaceae: There is value in morphology after all!
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
2016 (English)In: American Journal of Botany, ISSN 0002-9122, E-ISSN 1537-2197, Vol. 103, no 12, 2136-2159 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PREMISE OF THE STUDY: The cosmopolitan lycophyte family Selaginellaceae, dating back to the Late Devonian–Early Carboniferous, is notorious for its many species with a seemingly undifferentiated gross morphology. This morphological stasis has for a long time hampered our understanding of the evolutionary history of the single genus Selaginella. Here we present a large-scale phylogenetic analysis of Selaginella, and based on the resulting phylogeny, we discuss morphological evolution in the group.

METHODS: We sampled about one-third of the approximately 750 recognized Selaginella species. Evolutionary relationships were inferred from both chloroplast (rbcL) and single-copy nuclear gene data (pgiC and SQD1) using a Bayesian inference approach. The morphology of the group was studied and important features mapped onto the phylogeny.

KEY RESULTS: We present an overall well-supported phylogeny of Selaginella, and the phylogenetic positions of some previously problematic taxa (i.e., S. sinensis and allies) are now resolved with strong support. We show that even though the evolution of most morphological characters involves reversals and/or parallelisms, several characters are phylogenetically informative. Seven major clades are identified, which each can be uniquely diagnosed by a suite of morphological features. There is value in morphology after all!

CONCLUSIONS: Our hypothesis of the evolutionary relationships of Selaginella is well founded based on DNA sequence data, as well as morphology, and is in line with previous findings. It will serve as a firm basis for further studies on Selaginella with respect to, e.g., the poorly known alpha taxonomy, as well as evolutionary questions such as historical biogeographic reconstructions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 103, no 12, 2136-2159 p.
Keyword [en]
lycophytes, morphology, pgiC, phylogeny, rbcL, Selaginella, Selaginellaceae, SQD1
National Category
Botany Biological Systematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-300730DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1600156ISI: 000391736600013PubMedID: 27999082OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-300730DiVA: diva2:952170
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2006-429 2010-585Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse
Available from: 2016-08-12 Created: 2016-08-12 Last updated: 2017-02-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spikemoss patterns: Systematics and historical biogeography of Selaginellaceae
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spikemoss patterns: Systematics and historical biogeography of Selaginellaceae
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Mosslummermönster : Systematik och historisk biogeografi hos Selaginellaceae
Abstract [en]

Selaginellaceae, spikemosses, is a heterosporous plant family belonging to the lycophytes. With an estimated age of some 350 million years, the family is historically important as one of the oldest known groups of vascular plants. Selaginellaceae is herbaceous with a worldwide distribution. However, the majority of the ca. 750 species in the single genus Selaginella are found in the tropics and subtropics.

This thesis aims at elucidating the systematics and historical biogeography of Selaginellaceae. The evolutionary relationships of the family were inferred from DNA sequence data (plastid and single-copy nuclear) of one-third of the species richness in the group. Attention was paid to cover the previously undersampled taxonomic, morphological, and geographical diversity. Morphological features were studied and mapped onto the phylogeny. The results show an overall well-supported phylogeny and even more complex morphological patterns than previously reported. Despite this, many clades can be distinguished by unique suites of morphological features.

With the phylogeny as a basis, together with the thorough morphological studies, a new subgeneric classification with seven subgenera, representing strongly supported monophyletic groups, is presented for Selaginella. By mainly using gross morphological features, easily studied by the naked eye or with a hand lens, the intention is that the classification should be useful to a broader audience.

During the work with species determinations, it was revealed that the correct name for an endemic Madagascan Selaginella species is S. pectinata Spring, not S. polymorpha Badré as previously proposed.

The robust phylogeny of Selaginellaceae allowed for a historical biogeographical analysis of the group. A time-calibrated phylogeny, together with extant species distribution data, formed the basis. The results show pre-Pangean diversification patterns, Gondwanan vicariance, and more recent Cenozoic long-distance dispersals. The many inferred transoceanic dispersals during the last 50 million years are surprising considering Selaginella’s large megaspores that are thought to have a negative effect on dispersal.

In conclusion, this thesis presents a well-founded hypothesis of the evolutionary history of Selaginellaceae including its phylogeny, morphology, and historical biogeography. The thesis forms a firm basis for further studies on Selaginellaceae in particular, and gives us a better understanding of early land plant evolution in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 50 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1401
Keyword
classification, historical biogeography, lycophytes, nomenclature, phylogeny, Selaginella, Selaginellaceae, systematics, fylogeni, historisk biogeografi, klassifikation, lummerväxter, nomenklatur, Selaginella, Selaginellaceae, systematik
National Category
Biological Systematics Botany
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Systematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-300734 (URN)978-91-554-9647-0 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-30, Zootissalen, Evolutionsbiologiskt centrum, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-07 Created: 2016-08-12 Last updated: 2016-09-13

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