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Global biogeography and diversification of a group of brown seaweeds (Phaeophyceae) driven by clade-specific evolutionary processes

Cite this dataset

Vieira, Christophe et al. (2021). Global biogeography and diversification of a group of brown seaweeds (Phaeophyceae) driven by clade-specific evolutionary processes [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim: Historical processes that shaped current diversity patterns of seaweeds remain poorly understood. Using Dictyotales, a globally distributed order of brown seaweeds as a model, we test if historical biogeographical and diversification patterns are comparable across clades. Dictyotales contain some 22 genera, three of which, Dictyota, Lobophora and Padina, are exceptionally diverse. Specifically we test if the evolutionary processes in these clades that shaped their latitudinal diversity patterns are in line with the tropical conservatism, the out-of-the-tropics, and diversification rate hypotheses.

Location: Global coastal benthic marine environments.

Taxon: Dictyotales (Phaeophyceae)

Methods: Species diversity was inferred using DNA-based species delineation, addressing cryptic diversity and circumventing taxonomic problems. A six-gene time-calibrated phylogeny, distribution data of 3,755 specimens, and probabilistic modeling of geographic range evolution was used to infer historical biogeographical patterns. The phylogeny was tested against different trait dependent models in order to compare diversification rates for different geographical units as well as different thermal affinities.

Results: The Dictyotales originated in the Middle Jurassic and reach a current peak of species diversity in the Central Indo-Pacific. Ancestral range estimation points to a southern hemisphere origin of Dictyotales corresponding to the tropical southern Tethys Sea. Our results demonstrate that diversification rates were generally higher in tropical regions, but increased diversification rates in different clades are driven by different processes. Three major clades underwent a major diversification burst in the early Cenozoic, with Dictyota and Padina expanding their distribution into temperate regions, while Lobophora retained a predominantly tropical niche.

Main conclusions: Our results are consistent with both the tropical conservatism hypothesis, in which clades originate and remain in the tropics (Lobophora), and the out-of-the-tropics scenario, where taxa originate and expand towards the temperate regions while preserving their presence in the tropics (Dictyota, Padina).


The "Dictyotales ML tree JBI-20-0060.Tre" file contains the Dictyotales species tree based on Maximum likelihood analysis.

The "Time tree JBI-20-0060.tre" file contains the time-tree resulting from the BEAST analysis.

The "Biogeobears R script JBI-20-0060.r" file contains the script for the BioGeoBEARS analysis.

The "biogeobears_regions.txt" file is the input files for the BioGeoBEARS analysis.


Ghent University, Award: BOF16/PDO/141

Research Foundation - Flanders, Award: GOH3817N

Research Foundation - Flanders, Award: K210418N

Global Taxonomy Initiative

Research Foundation - Flanders, Award: G.0142.05

Research Foundation - Flanders, Award: G0D7820N

National Science Foundation, Award: 0743334

National Science Foundation, Award: 0819205

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Award: 2018-03869

Global Taxonomy Initiative