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Hotspots within a hotspot: Evolutionary measures unveil interesting biogeogeographic patterns for the conservation of the coastal forest in Chile

Citation

Scherson, Rosa; Mardones, Daniela (2022), Hotspots within a hotspot: Evolutionary measures unveil interesting biogeogeographic patterns for the conservation of the coastal forest in Chile, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h44j0zpnw

Abstract

Aim: Given the continuous loss of biodiversity, there is an urgent need to study its patterns to generate conservation measures. Complementing the traditional patterns with indices that incorporate evolutionary aspects such as phylogenetic diversity or phylogenetic endemism (PD and PE) allows us to infer possible historical processes that could explain the conformation of current biodiversity. Coastal forests in Chile are part of a biodiversity hotspot of high endemism that is under threat. In this study, patterns of richness and endemism were determined and contrasted with the evolutionary indices PD, PE, PDres (residual PD), RPD (relative PD), and RPE (relative PE) to infer historical processes that could have shaped the current diversity patterns. We also compared these indices at different taxonomic levels.

Location: Thirteen sites on a latitudinal gradient between 30°S and 40°S that are part of the Chilean Coastal mountain range.

Taxon: Woody flora at the species level.

Methods: DNA was extracted and three genes were sequenced for 95% of the species. A phylogeny was constructed to calculate evolutionary indices based on PD and PE and compared at different taxonomic levels. 

ResultsThe results of PD and PE were spatially consistent with those of richness and endemism, but evolutionarily important sites were discovered. PD-derived indices indicate three evolutionary hotspots, a cradle-type site with a predominance of neoendemisms (generating recent diversity) at 33°S, two museum-type sites with a predominance of paleoendemisms (maintaining relict diversity) at 30°S and 40°S and the last one with high PD and PE at 37°.

Main conclusion: We found interesting evolutionary hotspots within the hotspot of Central Chile with different characteristics. Incorporating measures that consider the evolutionary aspect has important implications for the conservation of highly diverse and endemic areas.

Methods

This is a concatenated data matrix obtained from GenBank and laboratory work, that was used to perform phylogenetic analyses.

Funding

Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo, Award: 1171586