Replicated radiation of a plant clade along a cloud forest archipelago

WashU Affiliated Authors: Michael J. Landis (Dept. of Biology)

Abstract: Replicated radiations, in which sets of similar forms evolve repeatedly within different regions, can provide powerful insights into parallel evolution and the assembly of functional diversity within communities. Several cases have been described in animals, but in plants we lack well-documented cases of replicated radiation that combine comprehensive phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses, the delimitation of geographic areas within which a set of ‘ecomorphs’ evolved independently and the identification of potential underlying mechanisms. Here we document the repeated evolution of a set of leaf ecomorphs in a group of neotropical plants. The Oreinotinus lineage within the angiosperm clade Viburnum spread from Mexico to Argentina through disjunct cloud forest environments. In 9 of 11 areas of endemism, species with similar sets of leaf forms evolved in parallel. We reject gene-flow-mediated evolution of similar leaves and show, instead, that species with disparate leaf forms differ in their climatic niches, supporting ecological adaptation as the driver of parallelism. Our identification of a case of replicated radiation in plants sets the stage for comparative analyses of such phenomena across the tree of life.

Citation or DOI: Donoghue, M.J., Eaton, D.A.R., Maya-Lastra, C.A. et al. Replicated radiation of a plant clade along a cloud forest archipelago. Nat Ecol Evol (2022).