The Sahul–Sunda floristic exchange: dated molecular phylogenies document Cenozoic intercontinental dispersal dynamics

Crayn, Darren M., Costion, Craig, and Harrington, Mark G. (2015) The Sahul–Sunda floristic exchange: dated molecular phylogenies document Cenozoic intercontinental dispersal dynamics. Journal of Biogeography, 42 (1). pp. 11-24.

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Aim: The aim was to characterize the temporal dynamics of the Sahul–Sunda floristic exchange using published dated molecular phylogenies.

Location: The Sahul and Sunda shelves in Australasia and Southeast Asia.

Methods: Dated molecular phylogenies were compiled from the literature for plant clades that contained at least one node representing a biogeographical disjunction between the Sahul and Sunda shelves. For these nodes the age, ancestral geographical area and propagule type were determined.

Results: We analysed 49 clades from 21 published phylogenies representing a diverse set of angiosperm lineages. The inferred age of the disjunctions ranged from c. 33 Ma to c. 1 Ma; the earliest age marked the onset of the Sahul–Sunda floristic exchange. Disjunctions (resulting from dispersal/migration events) occurred at the rate of 0.41 per 2 Myr between 34 and 12 Ma. Thereafter the rate sharply increased, coincident with the shelves effectively merging. For nearly two-thirds (63%) of the nodes Sunda was the ancestral area, and for 90% the ancestral species possessed zoochorous propagules.

Main conclusions: There is strong support for a dynamic model of floristic exchange between Sahul and Sunda. Fewer (18%) disjunctions occurred prior to Sahul and Sunda merging around 12 Ma, which we attribute to a combination of the effect of overwater dispersal barriers and relatively stable, saturated species assemblages resistant to the establishment of newly arrived lineages. The exchange, once underway, was strongly asymmetrical; eastwards migration into Sahul predominated over the reverse by a factor of c. 2.4. As zoochorous lineages were overrepresented among the successful dispersers, we infer a strong role for localized animal dispersal across narrow water barriers.

Item ID: 35359
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2699
Keywords: Australasia; dispersal; flora; historical biogeography; Malesia; molecular dating; molecular phylogeny; Wallacea; Wallace's Line
Funders: National Environmental Research Program: Tropical Ecosystems Hub, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), James Cook University (JCU), National Environmental Research Program (NERP)
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 04:30
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060310 Plant Systematics and Taxonomy @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 70%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
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