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Data from: Salt tolerance is evolutionarily labile in a diverse set of angiosperm families

Cite this dataset

Moray, Camile; Hua, Xia; Bromham, Lindell (2015). Data from: Salt tolerance is evolutionarily labile in a diverse set of angiosperm families [Dataset]. Dryad.


Background: Salt tolerance in plants is rare, yet they it is found across a diverse set of taxonomic groups. This suggests that, although salt tolerance involves a complex set of traits, it has evolved many times independently in different angiosperm lineages. However, the pattern of evolution of salt tolerance can vary dramatically between families. A recent phylogenetic study of the Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot family) concluded that salt tolerance has a conserved evolutionary pattern, being gained early in the evolution of the lineage then retained by most species in the family. Conversely, a phylogenetic study of the Poaceae (grass family) suggested over 70 independent origins of salt tolerance, most giving rise to only one or a few salt tolerant species. Here, we use a phylogenetic approach to explore the macroevolutionary patterns of salt tolerance in a sample of angiosperm families, in order to ask whether either of these two patterns - deep and conserved or shallow and labile - represents a common mode of salt tolerance evolution. We analyze the distribution of halophyte species across the angiosperms and identify families with more or less halophytes than expected under a random model. Then, we explore the phylogenetic distribution of halophytes in 22 families using phylogenetic comparative methods. Results: We find that salt tolerance species have been reported from over one-third of angiosperm families, but that salt tolerant species are not distributed evenly across angiosperm families. We find that salt tolerance has evolved hundreds of times over the history of the angiosperms. In a few families, we find deep and conserved origins of evolution of salt tolerance, but in the majority of families analyzed, we find that salt tolerance evolution is characterized by multiple independent origins that occur near the tips of the phylogeny and often give rise to only one or a few halophytes. Conclusions: Our results suggest that salt tolerance is evolutionarily labile in many different angiosperm families. Thus, the evolutionary pattern of many independent origins of salt tolerance near the tips of the phylogeny found previously in the grasses and observed in several other angiosperm families represents a common feature of salt tolerance evolution. Our findings add to the growing literature of the repeated evolution of complex ecological traits.

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