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1 April 2011 Evolution in African Marantaceae - Evidence from Phylogenetic, Ecological and Morphological Studies
Alexandra C. Ley, Regine Claßen-Bockhoff
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The Marantaceae (∼530 spp.) are one of the most species rich families within the order Zingiberales which incites the search for evolutionary factors favoring speciation. A positive influence on their divergence is ascribed to their unique explosive pollination mechanism which has been proposed to be a key innovation. To test this hypothesis phylogenies of the two major African clades (Sarcophrynium and the Marantochloa clade) were established based on data from nuclear (ITS, 5S) and chloroplast (trnL/trnL-F) DNA for an almost complete taxon sample. The phylogeny was used to parsimoniously reconstruct morphological and ecological traits and geographic distribution patterns. The resulting molecular relationships of the genera are congruent with the existing family phylogeny. As in previous studies the species Ataenidia conferta is nested within Marantochloa so that a new circumscription of Marantochloa is proposed leading to the new name Marantochloa conferta. Hybridization events, adaptation to different pollinators, and Pleistocene climatic fluctuations are hypothesized evolutionary factors fostering speciation in the African clades. The explosive pollination mechanism might have played an important role in optimizing the mating system but did certainly not force speciation directly through mechanisms of reproductive isolation.

© Copyright 2011 by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists
Alexandra C. Ley and Regine Claßen-Bockhoff "Evolution in African Marantaceae - Evidence from Phylogenetic, Ecological and Morphological Studies," Systematic Botany 36(2), 277-290, (1 April 2011).
Published: 1 April 2011
character reconstruction
explosive pollination mechanism
key innovation
plant pollinator interaction
Pleistocene refugia
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