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Abstract Detail


Ortiz, Edgardo M. [1], Simpson, Beryl [2].

Diversification of High Andean blueberries (Vaccinieae: Ericaceae): inter- and intraspecific evolutionary patterns.

The Andean uplift is arguably the most important geologic event that led to the diversification of the richest biota in the planet. By the end of the Miocene, the Andes reached half their current elevation and their eastern slopes intercepted, condensed, and precipitated enough westward-moving moist air from the Amazon to cause the formation of montane forests. Later, climatic oscillations during the Pleistocene heavily affected the distribution of upper montane forests. Today, the upper belt of these forests, also known as cloud forest, possesses the highest levels of endemism in the world, however, the processes that drove this diversification are still poorly understood. We investigated these processes in five endemic genera of the blueberry tribe, Vaccinieae (Demosthenesia, Pellegrinia, Polyclita, Rusbya, and Siphonandra); these inhabit the cloud forest up to timberline at ~3000-3500 masl. We constructed the largest and most robust time-calibrated phylogeny of the tribe to date and performed diversification and historical biogeographic analyses to place these genera in a temporal and phylogenetic context. Additionally, we used a phylogenomic approach to further resolve the relationships of the most recently diverged Demosthenesia and Rusbya. Finally, we explored the effects of Pleistocene climatic oscillations on the present population structure of the widespread Demosthenesia mandonii, and attempted to locate putative Pleistocene refugia. Our results indicate that the five genera do not share a single origin, however their divergence dates are contemporaneous at ~6 Ma. At a larger scale, the Neotropical blueberries have multiple evolutionary origins, with a main radiation influenced by the uplift of the Andes and Cenozoic temperatures. Lastly, the population analysis of D. mandonii, suggests a severe contraction of its range during the last glacial maximum followed by re-expansion towards the present, populations likely survived the last glaciation in a single Pleistocene refugium located in the Urubamba valley in central Peru.

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1 - Technical University Of Munich, Ecology & Ecosystem Management, Plant Biodiversity Research, Emil-Ramann Strasse 2, Freising, D-85354, Germany
2 - The University Of Texas At Austin, Integrative Biology, 205 West 24th St., Mail Stop C0930, Austin, TX, 78713.0, United States

Neotropical Vaccinieae
Pleistocene refugia

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 19, ASPT Cooley Awards I
Location: 110/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: 19013
Abstract ID:918
Candidate for Awards:George R. Cooley Award

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