Systematics Section / ASPT
McGuire, Avery F. , Kron, Kathleen A. .
Phylogenetic Relationships of European and African Ericas.
The genus Erica (Ericeae, Ericoideae, Ericaceae) occurs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Southern Africa has the largest number of species, especially at the southern tip of the continent. This narrow north-south distribution is unique in the Ericaceae and has fueled speculation about the origin of Erica species. Phylogenetic relationships among selected species of Erica (13 European taxa, 15 African taxa, and one widespread species occurring on both continents) were investigated in order to determine whether the origin of this genus lies in Europe or Africa. Three regions of DNA, one from the nuclear genome (nrITS) and two from the chloroplast (rbcL-atpβ spacer and matK), were selected as sources of molecular data because of their previously demonstrated utility within the Ericaceae. The combined data was used to conduct a parsimony analysis and the results indicate the African taxa as a monophyletic group derived from within the European taxa. Erica arborea has a wide geographic range found in both Europe and Africa and is placed as sister to the African clade, suggesting that the common ancestor of both E. arborea and the Cape African taxa may also have been widespread across both continents. This common ancestor may have expanded its range into Africa after the establishment of the connection between Europe and Africa during the mid-Miocene.
1 - Wake Forest University, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 7325, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 27109-7325, U.S.A.
Presentation Type: Paper
Location: Cottonwood B (Snowbird Center)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 2:45 PM