Phylogenetic systematics, morphological evolution, and natural groups in neotropical Phlegmariurus (Lycopodiaceae)

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  • Weston Testo, Univ Vermont, University of Vermont, Dept Plant Biol
  • ,
  • Benjamin Ollgaard
  • Ashley Field, James Cook Univ, James Cook University, Australian Trop Herbarium, Mt Cooth Tha Bot Gardens, Queensland Herbarium,Dept Environm & Sci
  • ,
  • Thais Almeida, Univ Fed Oeste Para, Universidade Federal do Oeste do Para, Inst Ciencias Educ, Herbario HSTM
  • ,
  • Michael Kessler, Univ Zurich, University of Zurich, Dept Evolutionary & Systemat Biol
  • ,
  • David Barrington, Univ Vermont, University of Vermont, Dept Plant Biol

The Neotropical clade of the lycophyte genus Phlegmariurus is comprised of an estimated 150 described species and exhibits exceptional morphological and ecological diversity. Because of their simple morphology, frequent convergent evolution, and the recentness of the group's diversification, the delimitation of species and species groups has remained challenging. Here, we present a robustly support phylogeny of Neotropical Phlegmariurus based on six chloroplast markers and ca. 70% of known species, and use ancestral character state reconstruction to investigate morphological evolution in the clade, and define natural species groups. The Neotropical species of Phlegmariurus form a clade that also includes a small number of Afro-Madagascan species. A morphologically and ecologically variable group of species from southeastern Brazil form a monophyletic group and represent a parallel radiation to principally Andean lineages. Species groups in Neotropical Phlegmariurus that were previously recognized based on morphology are not monophyletic. We find support for 11 morphologically cohesive and well-supported species groups. Morphological homoplasy is common in Phlegmariurus and complicates infrageneric classification of the Neotropical taxa. Our results provide a useful framework for identifying species groups and understanding patterns of morphological evolution in Neotropical Phlegmariurus. The radiation of the Brazilian species remains poorly understood and requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume125
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
ISSN1055-7903
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

    Research areas

  • Clubmosses, Lycophytes, Morphology, Neotropics, Phylogenetics, Synapomorphy, HUPERZIA LYCOPODIACEAE, GENERIC CLASSIFICATION, RBCL SEQUENCES, MIXED MODELS, COMBINATIONS, PHYLLOGLOSSUM, TAXA

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ID: 127718647