Faculté des sciences

Range-wide patterns of nuclear and chloroplast DNA diversity in Vriesea gigantea (Bromeliaceae), a neotropical forest species

Palma-Silva, Clarisse ; Lexer, Christian ; Paggi, G. M. ; Barbará, Thelma ; Bered, F. ; Bodanese-Zanettini, M. H.

In: Heredity, 2009, vol. 103, p. 503–512

The processes that have shaped the extraordinary species diversity in neotropical rainforests are poorly understood, and knowledge about the patterns of genetic diversity across species' ranges is scarce, in contrast to other regions of the globe. We have conducted a range-wide study of genetic diversity in a plant endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, Vriesea gigantea (Bromeliaceae),... Plus

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    Summary
    The processes that have shaped the extraordinary species diversity in neotropical rainforests are poorly understood, and knowledge about the patterns of genetic diversity across species' ranges is scarce, in contrast to other regions of the globe. We have conducted a range-wide study of genetic diversity in a plant endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, Vriesea gigantea (Bromeliaceae), based on a combined data set of nuclear microsatellites and chloroplast (cp) DNA markers typed in 429 plants from 13 populations. The results indicate a strong negative correlation between genetic diversity and population latitude, consistent with historical forest expansion from the northern half of the present distribution range. A deep phylogeographic split exists between the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro at ca. 23 °S latitude, probably reflecting past population isolation within more than one glacial refuge during the climatic changes of the Pleistocene. A comparison of genetic structures at cpDNA and nuclear markers revealed a pollen/seed flow ratio of more than 3:1, thus indicating an important role of the pollinating animals (that is, bats) in shaping the population genetic structure of this species. Diversity was reduced for cpDNA markers in the island populations off the coast, and reduced diversity and increased differentiation were observed for both nuclear and cpDNA at the edges of the species' range. The link between patterns of genetic and species diversity supports the hypothesis that both were shaped by the same biogeographic processes, triggered by the climatic oscillations of the Pleistocene.