Historical biogeography of Pomaderris (Rhamnaceae): Continental vicariance in Australia and repeated independent dispersals to New Zealand

Francis J. Nge, Jürgen Kellermann, Ed Biffin, Michelle Waycott, Kevin R. Thiele

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7 Citations (Web of Science)


Aim: Gondwanan biogeographic patterns include a combination of old vicariance events following the breakup of the supercontinent, and more recent long-distance dispersals across the southern landmasses. Floristic relationships between Australia and New Zealand have mostly been attributed to recent dispersal events rather than vicariance. We assessed the biogeographic history of Pomaderris (Rhamnaceae), which occurs in both Australia and New Zealand, by constructing a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny to infer (1) phylogenetic relationships and (2) the relative contributions of vicariance and dispersal events in the biogeographic history of the genus. Location: Australia and New Zealand. Methods: Using hybrid capture and high throughput sequencing, we generated nuclear and plastid data sets to estimate phylogenetic relationships and fossil calibrated divergence time estimates for Pomaderris. BioGeoBEARS and biogeographical stochastic mapping (BSM) were used to assess the ancestral area of the genus and the relative contributions of vicariance vs dispersal, and the directionality of dispersal events. Results: Our analyses indicate that Pomaderris originated in the Oligocene and had a widespread Australian distribution. Vicariance of western and eastern Australian clades coincides with the uplift of the Nullarbor Plain c. 14 Ma, followed by subsequent in-situ and within-biome diversification with little exchange across regions. A rapid radiation of southeastern Australian taxa beginning c. 10 Ma was the source for at least six independent long-distance dispersal events to New Zealand during the Pliocene–Pleistocene. Main conclusions: Our study demonstrates the importance of dispersal in explaining not only the current cross-Tasman distributions of Pomaderris, but for the New Zealand flora more broadly. The pattern of multiple independent long-distance dispersal events for Pomaderris, without significant radiation within New Zealand, is congruent with other lowland plant groups, suggesting that this biome has a different evolutionary history compared with the younger alpine flora of New Zealand, which exhibits extensive radiations often following single long distance dispersal events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107085
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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