The Macaronesian endemic flora has traditionally been interpreted as a relict of a subtropical element that spanned across Europe in the Tertiary. This hypothesis is revisited in the moss subfamily Helicodontioideae based on molecular divergence estimates derived from two independent calibration techniques either employing fossil evidence or using an Monte Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) to sample absolute rates of nucleotide substitution from a prior distribution encompassing a wide range of rates documented across land plants. Both analyses suggest that the monotypic Madeiran endemic genus Hedenasiastrum diverged of other Helicodontioideae about 40 million years, that is, well before Macaronesian archipelagos actually emerged, in agreement with the relict hypothesis. Hedenasiastrum is characterized by a plesiomorphic morphology, which is suggestive of a complete morphological stasis over 40 million years. Macaronesian endemic Rhynchostegiella species, whose polyphyletic origin involves multiple colonization events, evolved much more recently, and yet accumulated many more morphological novelties than H. percurrens. The Macaronesian moss flora thus appears as a complex mix of ancient relicts and more recently dispersed, fast-evolving taxa.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 63 • No. 12