Molecular phylogeography reveals two geographically and temporally separated floristic exchange tracks between Southeast Asia and northern Australia

Joyce, Elizabeth M., Pannell, Caroline M., Rossetto, Maurizio, Yap, Jia Yee S., Thiele, Kevin R., Wilson, Peter D., and Crayn, Darren M. (2021) Molecular phylogeography reveals two geographically and temporally separated floristic exchange tracks between Southeast Asia and northern Australia. Journal of Biogeography, 48 (5). pp. 1213-1227.

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Abstract

Aim: Exchange of plant lineages between Australia and Southeast Asia has had a substantial impact on the evolution of Australia's northern, tropical flora, with important ramifications for its conservation and biosecurity. Despite this, floristic exchange tracks between northern Australia and Southeast Asia remain poorly understood. To address this, we conducted a molecular phylogeographic case study to identify exchange tracks between Australia and Southeast Asia.

Location: India, Southeast Asia, Australia and Pacific islands.

Taxon: The widespread tropical monsoonal tree species Aglaia elaeagnoidea (Meliaceae).

Methods: We conducted a DArTseq phylogeographic study of 141 herbarium and silica-dried samples sourced from across the range of A. elaeagnoidea. We analysed 176,331 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 90,456 loci using multivariate, admixture, genetic differentiation and coalescent methods to characterise phylogeographic and phylogenetic patterns. These analyses were considered in the context of an environmental niche model for the last glacial maximum.

Results: Two exchange tracks were identified: one from New Guinea to Cape York Peninsula in north-east Australia, and a second from Timor-Leste to the Kimberley Plateau of north-west Australia. The Cape York Peninsula track is contemporary, characterised by ongoing genetic exchange, whereas the Kimberley Plateau track is historic, facilitated by multiple past exposures of the Arafura Shelf during the Pleistocene. Overall, we suggest that phylogeographic patterns of A. elaeagnoidea have resulted from a combination of repeated range expansion and contraction cycles concurrent with Quaternary climate fluctuations and stochastic dispersal events.

Main conclusions: This study provides the first molecular phylogeographic evidence for two floristic exchange tracks between northern Australia and Southeast Asia. It also highlights the influence of Quaternary climate fluctuations on the complex biogeography of the region, and supports the idea that the Kimberley Plateau and Cape York Peninsula in northern Australia have separate biogeographic histories.

Item ID: 70443
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2699
Keywords: Aglaia elaeagnoidea, Cape York Peninsula, colonisation, Kimberley, Meliaceae, New Guinea, Sahul, Sunda, Timor-Leste, tropical biogeography
Copyright Information: © 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2021 02:23
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310402 Biogeography and phylogeography @ 80%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310411 Plant and fungus systematics and taxonomy @ 20%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 90%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology @ 10%
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