We investigated the origins of 252 Southern Appalachian woody species representing 158 clades to analyze larger patterns of biogeographic connectivity around the northern hemisphere. We tested biogeographic hypotheses regarding the timing of species disjunctions to eastern Asia and among areas of North America.We delimited species into biogeographically informative clades, compiled sister-area data, and generated graphic representations of area connections across clades. We calculated taxon diversity within clades and plotted divergence times.Of the total taxon diversity, 45% were distributed among 25 North American endemic clades. Sister taxa within eastern North America and eastern Asia were proportionally equal in frequency, accounting for over 50% of the sister-area connections. At increasing phylogenetic depth, connections to the Old World dominated. Divergence times for 65 clades with intercontinental disjunctions were continuous, whereas 11 intracontinental disjunctions to western North America and nine to eastern Mexico were temporally congruent.Over one third of the clades have likely undergone speciation within the region of eastern North America. The biogeographic pattern for the region is asymmetric, consisting of mostly mixed-aged, low-diversity clades connecting to the Old World, and a minority of New World clades. Divergence time data suggest that climate change in the Late Miocene to Early Pliocene generated disjunct patterns within North America. Continuous splitting times during the last 45 million years support the hypothesis that widespread distributions formed repeatedly during favorable periods, with serial cooling trends producing pseudocongruent area disjunctions between eastern North America and eastern Asia.
Previous phylogenetic studies in oaks (Quercus, Fagaceae) have failed to resolve the backbone topology of the genus with strong support. Here, we utilize next-generation sequencing of restriction-site associated DNA (RAD-Seq) to resolve a framework phylogeny of a predominantly American clade of oaks whose crown age is estimated at 23-33 million years old. Using a recently developed analytical pipeline for RAD-Seq phylogenetics, we created a concatenated matrix of 1.40 E06 aligned nucleotides, constituting 27,727 sequence clusters. RAD-Seq data were readily combined across runs, with no difference in phylogenetic placement between technical replicates, which overlapped by only 43-64% in locus coverage. 17% (4,715) of the loci we analyzed could be mapped with high confidence to one or more expressed sequence tags in NCBI Genbank. A concatenated matrix of the loci that BLAST to at least one EST sequence provides approximately half as many variable or parsimony-informative characters as equal-sized datasets from the non-EST loci. The EST-associated matrix is more complete (fewer missing loci) and has slightly lower homoplasy than non-EST subsampled matrices of the same size, but there is no difference in phylogenetic support or relative attribution of base substitutions to internal versus terminal branches of the phylogeny. We introduce a partitioned RAD visualization method (implemented in the R package RADami; http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/RADami) to investigate the possibility that suboptimal topologies supported by large numbers of loci--due, for example, to reticulate evolution or lineage sorting--are masked by the globally optimal tree. We find no evidence for strongly-supported alternative topologies in our study, suggesting that the phylogeny we recover is a robust estimate of large-scale phylogenetic patterns in the American oak clade. Our study is one of the first to demonstrate the utility of RAD-Seq data for inferring phylogeny in a 23-33 million year-old clade.
UNLABELLED: PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Hybridization is thought to have played an important role in diversification of the speciose shrub genus Ceanothus; putative hybrid species have been described, and data suggest that intrinsic barriers may not exist among closely related species. However, the extent to which hybridization occurs in the wild is not known, and little is understood about how extrinsic factors such as soil chemistry may influence the process. The present research focuses on the gabbro-endemic C. roderickii and the closely related soil-generalist C. cuneatus. Though the species occur peripatrically, they remain distinct across an edaphic disjunction. • METHODS: AFLP was used to quantify hybridization and introgression. Biological data and experiments were used to test for prezygotic isolation. Growth trials were used to test for local adaptation and selection against hybrids. • KEY RESULTS: Ceanothus cuneatus and C. roderickii were strongly differentiated morphologically and genetically, despite a lack of evidence for prezygotic barriers. Hybrids and back-crosses were present but infrequent. Finally, there was selection against hybrids in nonnative soil. • CONCLUSIONS: There is little genetic exchange between the focal species across an edaphic disjunction, despite the absence of prezygotic barriers. This result implies that soil conditions, as well as other extrinsic factors, should be considered as forces that may restrict hybridization and gene flow in Ceanothus, influencing local adaptation and speciation. Findings presented here are significant because they imply that exchange of genetic material between plants may be limited directly by the abiotic environment, rather than by the biology of the plants.