Phylogeographic pattern of Rhizophora (Rhizophoraceae) reveals the importance of both vicariance and long-distance oceanic dispersal to modern mangrove distribution

Lo, Eugenia Y.Y., Duke, Norman C., and Sun, Mei (2014) Phylogeographic pattern of Rhizophora (Rhizophoraceae) reveals the importance of both vicariance and long-distance oceanic dispersal to modern mangrove distribution. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14. 83. pp. 1-15.

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Background: Mangroves are key components of coastal ecosystems in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. However, the patterns and mechanisms of modern distribution of mangroves are still not well understood. Historical vicariance and dispersal are two hypothetic biogeographic processes in shaping the patterns of present-day species distributions. Here we investigate evolutionary biogeography of mangroves in the Indo-West Pacific (IWP) and western Atlantic-East Pacific (AEP) regions using a large sample of populations of Rhizophora (the most representative mangrove genus) and a combination of chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences and genome-wide ISSR markers.

Results: Our comparative analyses of biogeographic patterns amongst Rhizophora taxa worldwide support the hypothesis that ancient dispersals along the Tethys Seaway and subsequent vicariant events that divided the IWP and AEP lineages resulted in the major disjunctions. We dated the deep split between the Old and New World lineages to early Eocene based on fossil calibration and geological and tectonic changes. Our data also provide evidence for other vicariant processes within the Indo-West Pacific region in separating conspecific lineages of SE Asia and Australia-Pacific at the Oligocene-Miocene boundary. Close genetic affinities exist between extant Fijian and American lineages; East African and Australian lineages; and Australian and Pacific lineages; indicating relatively more recent oceanic long-distance dispersal events.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that neither vicariance nor dispersal alone could explain the observed global occurrences of Rhizophora, but a combination of vicariant events and oceanic long-distance dispersals can account for historical diversification and present-day biogeographic patterns of mangroves.

Item ID: 33733
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2148
Keywords: Atlantic-east pacific, chloroplast DNA, divergence time, Indo-west pacific, nuclear markers, long-distance dispersal, mangroves, phylogeography, rhizophora, vicariance
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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: Hong Kong Research Grants Council (HKRGC)
Projects and Grants: HKRGC HKU7261/00M
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 09:49
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
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