5 years ago

Speciation history of a species complex of Primulina eburnea (Gesneriaceae) from limestone karsts of southern China, a biodiversity hot spot

Hanghui Kong, Jing Wang, Ming Kang, Bin Ai
Limestone karsts in southern China are characterized by high edaphic and topographic heterogeneity and host high levels of species richness and endemism. However, the evolutionary mechanisms for generating such biodiversity remain poorly understood. Here, we performed species delimitation, population genetic analyses, simulations of gene flow and analyses of floral morphological traits to infer the geographic history of speciation in a species complex of Primulina eburnea from limestone karsts of southern China. Using Bayesian species delimitation, we determined that there are seven distinct species that correspond well to the putative morphological species. Species tree reconstruction, Structure and Neighbor-Net analyses all recovered four lineages in agreement with currently species geographic boundaries. High levels of genetic differentiation were observed both within and among species. Isolation–migration coalescent analysis provides evidence for significant but low gene flow among species. Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) analysis supports a scenario of historical gene flow rather than recent contemporary gene flow for most species divergences. Finally, we found no evidence of divergent selection contributing to population differentiation of a suite of flower traits. These results support the prevalence of allopatric speciation and highlight the role of geographic isolation in the diversification process. At small geographic scales, limited hybridization occurred in the past between proximate populations but did not eliminate species boundaries. We conclude that limited gene flow might have been the predominant evolutionary force in promoting population differentiation and speciation.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/eva.12495

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