Repeated range expansion and niche shift in a volcanic hotspot archipelago: Radiation of C4 Hawaiian Euphorbia subgenus Chamaesyce (Euphorbiaceae)

Ecology and Evolution
Ya YangPaul E Berry


Woody perennial plants on islands have repeatedly evolved from herbaceous mainland ancestors. Although the majority of species in Euphorbia subgenus Chamaesyce section Anisophyllum (Euphorbiaceae) are small and herbaceous, a clade of 16 woody species diversified on the Hawaiian Islands. They are found in a broad range of habitats, including the only known C4 plants adapted to wet forest understories. We investigate the history of island colonization and habitat shift in this group. We sampled 153 individuals in 15 of the 16 native species of Hawaiian Euphorbia on six major Hawaiian Islands, plus 11 New World close relatives, to elucidate the biogeographic movement of this lineage within the Hawaiian island chain. We used a concatenated chloroplast DNA data set of more than eight kilobases in aligned length and applied maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference for phylogenetic reconstruction. Age and phylogeographic patterns were co-estimated using BEAST. In addition, we used nuclear ribosomal ITS and the low-copy genes LEAFY and G3pdhC to investigate the reticulate relationships within this radiation. Hawaiian Euphorbia first arrived on Kaua`i or Ni`ihau ca. 5 million years ago and subsequently diverged into 16 named species wi...Continue Reading



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