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Data from: Historical biogeography of endemic seed plant genera in the Caribbean: did GAARlandia play a role?


Nieto-Blazquez, Maria Esther; Antonelli, Alexandre; Roncal, Julissa (2018), Data from: Historical biogeography of endemic seed plant genera in the Caribbean: did GAARlandia play a role?, Dryad, Dataset,


The Caribbean archipelago is a region with an extremely complex geological history and an outstanding plant diversity with high levels of endemism. The aim of this study is to better understand the historical assembly and evolution of endemic seed plant genera in the Caribbean, by first determining divergence times of endemic genera to test whether the hypothesized Greater Antilles and Aves Ridge (GAARlandia) land bridge played a role in the archipelago colonization, and second by testing South America as the main colonization source as expected by the position of landmasses and recent evidence of an asymmetrical biotic interchange. We reconstructed a dated molecular phylogenetic tree for 625 seed plants including 32 Caribbean endemic genera using Bayesian inference and ten calibrations. To estimate the geographic range of the ancestors of endemic genera we performed a model selection between a null and 2 complex biogeographical models that included timeframes based on geological information, dispersal probabilities and directionality among regions. Crown ages for endemic genera ranged from Early Eocene (53.1 Ma) to Late Pliocene (3.4 Ma). Confidence intervals for divergence times (crown and/or stem ages) of 22 endemic genera occurred within the GAARlandia time frame. Contrary to expectations, the Antilles appears as the main ancestral area for endemic seed plant genera and only five genera had a South American origin. In contrast with patterns shown for vertebrates and other organisms and based on our sampling we conclude that GAARlandia did not act as a colonization route for plants between South America and the Antilles. Further studies on Caribbean plant dispersal at the species and population levels will be required to reveal finer-scale biogeographic patterns and mechanisms.

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