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25 September 2023, Volume 45 Issue 05
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  • Articles
    Geographic patterns of taxonomic and phylogenetic β-diversity of angiosperm genera in regional floras across the world
    Hong Qian, Shenhua Qian
    2023, 45(05):  491-500.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.008
    Abstract ( 31 )   HTML ( )   PDF (13072KB) ( 40 )   Save
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    Beta diversity (β-diversity) is the scalar between local (α) and regional (γ) diversity. Understanding geographic patterns of β-diversity is central to ecology, biogeography, and conservation biology. A full understanding of the origin and maintenance of geographic patterns of β-diversity requires exploring both taxonomic and phylogenetic β-diversity, as well as their respective turnover and nestedness components, and exploring phylogenetic β-diversity at different evolutionary depths. In this study, we explore and map geographic patterns of β-diversity for angiosperm genera in regional floras across the world. We examine both taxonomic and phylogenetic β-diversity and their constituent components, and both tip-weighted and basal-weighted phylogenetic β-diversity, and relate them to latitude. On the one hand, our study found that the global distribution of β-diversity is highly heterogeneous. This is the case for both taxonomic and phylogenetic β-diversity, and for both tip-weighted and basal-weighted phylogenetic β-diversity. On the other hand, our study found that there are highly consistent geographic patterns among different metrics of β-diversity. In most cases, metrics of β-diversity are negatively associated with latitude, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Different metrics of taxonomic β-diversity are strongly and positively correlated with their counterparts of phylogenetic β-diversity.
    Historical development of karst evergreen broadleaved forests in East Asia has shaped the evolution of a hemiparasitic genus Brandisia (Orobanchaceae)
    Zhe Chen, Zhuo Zhou, Ze-Min Guo, Truong Van Do, Hang Sun, Yang Niu
    2023, 45(05):  501-512.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.03.005
    Abstract ( 20 )   HTML ( )   PDF (13024KB) ( 8 )   Save
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    Brandisia is a shrubby genus of about eight species distributed basically in East Asian evergreen broadleaved forests (EBLFs), with distribution centers in the karst regions of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi in southwestern China. Based on the hemiparasitic and more or less liana habits of this genus, we hypothesized that its evolution and distribution were shaped by the development of EBLFs there. To test our hypothesis, the most comprehensive phylogenies of Brandisia hitherto were constructed based on plastome and nuclear loci (nrDNA, PHYA and PHYB); then divergence time and ancestral areas were inferred using the combined nuclear loci dataset. Phylogenetic analyses reconfirmed that Brandisia is a member of Orobanchaceae, with unstable placements caused by nuclear-plastid incongruences. Within Brandisia, three major clades were well supported, corresponding to the three subgenera based on morphology. Brandisia was inferred to have originated in the early Oligocene (32.69 Mya) in the Eastern Himalayas–SW China, followed by diversification in the early Miocene (19.45 Mya) in karst EBLFs. The differentiation dates of Brandisia were consistent with the origin of keystone species of EBLFs in this region (e.g., Fagaceae, Lauraceae, Theaceae, and Magnoliaceae) and the colonization of other characteristic groups (e.g., Gesneriaceae and Mahonia). These findings indicate that the distribution and evolution of Brandisia were facilitated by the rise of the karst EBLFs in East Asia. In addition, the woody and parasitic habits, and pollination characteristics of Brandisia may also be the important factors affecting its speciation and dispersal.
    RAD-sequencing improves the genetic characterization of a threatened tree peony (Paeonia ludlowii) endemic to China: Implications for conservation
    Yu-Juan Zhao, Gen-Shen Yin, Xun Gong
    2023, 45(05):  513-522.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2022.07.002
    Abstract ( 28 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2357KB) ( 22 )   Save
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    Compared with traditional genetic markers, genomic approaches have proved valuable to the conservation of endangered species. Paeonia ludlowii having rarely and pure yellow flowers, is one of the world's most famous tree peonies. However, only several wild populations remain in the Yarlung Zangbo Valley (Nyingchi and Shannan regions, Xizang) in China due to increasing anthropogenic impact on the natural habitats. We used genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms to elucidate the spatial pattern of genetic variation, population structure and demographic history of P. ludlowii from the fragmented region comprising the entire range of this species, aiming to provide a basis for conserving the genetic resources of this species. Unlike genetic uniformity among populations revealed in previous studies, we found low but varied levels of intra-population genetic diversity, in which lower genetic diversity was detected in the population in Shannan region compared to those in Nyingzhi region. These spatial patterns may be likely associated with different population sizes caused by micro-environment differences in these two regions. Additionally, low genetic differentiation among populations (Fst = 0.0037) were detected at the species level. This line of evidence, combined with the result of significant genetic differentiation between the two closest populations and lack of isolation by distance, suggested that shared ancestry among now remnant populations rather than contemporary genetic connectivity resulted in subtle population structure. Demographic inference suggested that P. ludlowii probably experienced a temporal history of sharp population decline during the period of Last Glacial Maximum, and a subsequent bottleneck event resulting from prehistoric human activities on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. All these events, together with current habitat fragment and excavation might contribute to the endangered status of P. ludlowii. Our study improved the genetic characterization of the endangered tree peony (P. ludlowii) in China, and these genetic inferences should be considered when making different in situ and ex situ conservation actions for P. ludlowii in this evolutionary hotspot region.
    Plastid phylogenomics and species discrimination in the “Chinese” clade of Roscoea (Zingiberaceae)
    Hai-Su Hu, Jiu-Yang Mao, Xue Wang, Yu-Ze Liang, Bei Jiang, De-Quan Zhang
    2023, 45(05):  523-534.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.03.012
    Abstract ( 25 )   HTML ( )   PDF (18700KB) ( 21 )   Save
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    Roscoea is an alpine or subalpine genus from the pan-tropical family Zingiberaceae, which consists of two disjunct groups in geography, namely the “Chinese” clade and the “Himalayan” clade. Despite extensive research on the genus, Roscoea species remain poorly defined and relationships between these species are not well resolved. In this study, we used plastid genomes of nine species and one variety to resolve phylogenetic relationships within the “Chinese” clade of Roscoea and as DNA super barcodes for species discrimination. We found that Roscoea plastid genomes ranged in length from 163,063 to 163,796 bp, and encoded 113 genes, including 79 protein-coding genes, 30 tRNA genes, four rRNA genes. In addition, expansion and contraction of the IR regions showed obvious infraspecific conservatism and interspecific differentiation. Plastid phylogenomics revealed that species belonging to the “Chinese” clade of Roscoea can be divided into four distinct subclades. Furthermore, our analysis supported the independence of R. cautleoides var. pubescens, the recovery of Roscoea pubescens Z.Y. Zhu, and a close relationship between R. humeana and R. cautloides. When we used the plastid genome as a super barcode, we found that it possessed strong discriminatory power (90%) with high support values. Intergenic regions provided similar resolution, which was much better than that of protein-coding regions, hypervariable regions, and DNA universal barcodes. However, plastid genomes could not completely resolve Roscoea phylogeny or definitively discriminate species. These limitations are likely related to the complex history of Roscoea speciation, poorly defined species within the genus, and the maternal inheritance of plastid genomes.
    Drivers of the differentiation between broad-leaved trees and shrubs in the shift from evergreen to deciduous leaf habit in forests of eastern Asian subtropics
    Yi Jin, Hong Qian
    2023, 45(05):  535-543.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2022.12.008
    Abstract ( 24 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1032KB) ( 15 )   Save
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    In eastern Asian subtropical forests, leaf habit shifts from evergreen to deciduous broad-leaved woody plants toward higher latitudes. This shift has been largely explained by the greater capacity of deciduous broad-leaved plants to respond to harsh climatic conditions (e.g., greater seasonality). The advantages of deciduous leaf habit over evergreen leaf habit in more seasonal climates have led us to hypothesize that leaf habits would shift in response to climate changes more conspicuously in forest canopy trees than in forest understory shrubs. Furthermore, we hypothesize that in the forests of the subtropics, plants at higher latitudes, regardless of growth form, would better tolerate seasonal harsh climates, and hence show less differentiation in leaf habit shift, compared to those at lower latitudes. To test these two hypotheses, we modelled the proportion of deciduous broad-leaved species and the incidence of deciduous and evergreen broad-leaved species in woody angiosperm species compositions of ten large-sized forest plots distributed in the Chinese subtropics. We found that the rate of leaf habit shift along a latitudinal gradient was higher in forest trees than in forest shrubs. We also found that the differentiation in leaf habit shift between trees and shrubs is greater at lower latitudes (i.e., warmer climates) than at higher latitudes (i.e., colder climates). These findings indicate that specialized forest plants are differentially affected by climate in distinct forest strata in a manner dependent on latitudinal distribution. These differences in forest plant response to changes in climate suggest that global climate warming will alter growth forms and geographical distributions and ranges of forests.
    Resolving a nearly 90-year-old enigma: The rare Fagus chienii is conspecific with F. hayatae based on molecular and morphological evidence
    Dan-Qi Li, Lu Jiang, Hua Liang, Da-Hai Zhu, Deng-Mei Fan, Yi-Xuan Kou, Yi Yang, Zhi-Yong Zhang
    2023, 45(05):  544-551.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.01.003
    Abstract ( 35 )   HTML ( )   PDF (6334KB) ( 16 )   Save
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    Taxonomic uncertainties of rare species often hinder effective prioritization for conservation. One such taxonomic uncertainty is the 90-year-old enigma of Fagus chienii. F. chienii was previously only known from the type specimens collected in 1935 in Pingwu County of Sichuan Province, China, and has long been thought to be on the verge of extinction. However, morphological similarities to closely related Fagus species have led many to question the taxonomic status of F. chienii. To clarify this taxonomic uncertainty, we used the newly collected samples to reconstruct a molecular phylogeny of Chinese Fagus species against the phylogenetic backbone of the whole genus using seven nuclear genes. In addition, we examined nine morphological characters to determine whether F. chienii is morphologically distinct from its putatively closest relatives (F. hayatae, F. longipetiolata, and F. lucida). Both morphological and phylogenetic analyses indicated that F. chienii is conspecific with F. hayatae. We recommended that F. chienii should not be treated as a separate species in conservation management. However, conservation strategies such as in situ protection and ex situ germplasm preservation should be adopted to prevent the peculiar “F. chienii” population from extinction.
    Climate change impacts the distribution of Quercus section Cyclobalanopsis (Fagaceae), a keystone lineage in East Asian evergreen broadleaved forests
    Lin Lin, Xiao-Long Jiang, Kai-Qi Guo, Amy Byrne, Min Deng
    2023, 45(05):  552-568.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.03.014
    Abstract ( 20 )   HTML ( )   PDF (7217KB) ( 11 )   Save
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    East Asian evergreen broadleaved forests (EBFLs) harbor high species richness, but these ecosystems are severely impacted by global climate change and deforestation. Conserving and managing EBLFs requires understanding dominant tree distribution dynamics. In this study, we used 29 species in Quercus section Cyclobalanopsis—a keystone lineage in East Asian EBLFs—as proxies to predict EBLF distribution dynamics using species distribution models (SDMs). We examined climatic niche overlap, similarity, and equivalency among seven biogeographical regions’ species using ‘ecospat’. We also estimated the effectiveness of protected areas in the predicted range to elucidate priority conservation regions. Our results showed that the climatic niches of most geographical groups differ. The western species under the Indian summer monsoon regime were mainly impacted by temperature factors, whereas precipitation impacted the eastern species under the East Asian summer monsoon regime. Our simulation predicted a northward range expansion of section Cyclobalanopsis between 2081 and 2100, except for the ranges of the three Himalayan species analyzed, which might shrink significantly. The greatest shift of highly suitable areas was predicted for the species in the South Pacific, with a centroid shift of over 300 km. Remarkably, only 7.56% of suitable habitat is currently inside protected areas, and the percentage is predicted to continue declining in the future. To better conserve Asian EBLFs, establishing nature reserves in their northern distribution ranges, and transplanting the populations with predicted decreasing numbers and degraded habitats to their future highly suitable areas, should be high-priority objectives.
    Evidence of the oldest extant vascular plant (horsetails) from the Indian Cenozoic
    Sampa Kundu, Taposhi Hazra, Tapan Chakraborty, Subir Bera, Mahasin Ali Khan
    2023, 45(05):  569-589.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.01.004
    Abstract ( 23 )   HTML ( )   PDF (61764KB) ( 11 )   Save
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    Equisetum (Equisetaceae) has long been a focus of attention for botanists and palaeontologists because, given its extensive and well-documented fossil record, it is considered the oldest extant vascular plant and a key element in understanding vascular plant evolution. However, to date, no authentic fossil evidence of Equisetum has been found from the Indian Cenozoic. Here, we describe a new fossil species, namely, E. siwalikum sp. nov., recovered from the middle Siwalik (Late Miocene) sediments of Himachal Pradesh, western Himalaya. We identified fossil specimens based on morphological and epidermal characters. In addition, X-Ray diffraction (XRD) analysis was used to determine the mineral composition of compressed stems of Equisetum. The close affinity of our recovered Siwalik fossils to Equisetum is supported by the presence of both macromorphological and epidermal characters. Because Equisetum generally grows in wet conditions around water reservoirs, our findings indicate that the fossil locality was humid and surrounded by swamp and lowland regions during deposition. Ample fossil evidence indicates that this sphenopsid once existed in the western Himalaya during the Siwalik period. However, at present Equisetum is confined to a particular area of our fossil locality, probably a consequence of severe environmental changes coupled with competition from opportunistic angiosperms. Our discovery of Equisetum fossils in appreciable numbers from the Siwalik sediments of the Himachal Himalayas is unique and constitutes the first reliable recognition of Equisetum from the Indian Cenozoic.
    Integrative analysis of the metabolome and transcriptome reveals the potential mechanism of fruit flavor formation in wild hawthorn (Crataegus chungtienensis)
    Xien Wu, Dengli Luo, Yingmin Zhang, Ling Jin, M. James C. Crabbe, Qin Qiao, Guodong Li, Ticao Zhang
    2023, 45(05):  590-600.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.02.001
    Abstract ( 26 )   HTML ( )   PDF (10183KB) ( 7 )   Save
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    Hawthorns are important medicinal and edible plants with a long history of health protection in China. Besides cultivated hawthorn, other wild hawthorns may also have excellent medicinal and edible value, such as Crataegus chungtienensis, an endemic species distributed in the Southwest of China. In this study, by integrating the flavor-related metabolome and transcriptome data of the ripening fruit of C. chungtienensis, we have developed an understanding of the formation of hawthorn fruit quality. The results show that a total of 849 metabolites were detected in the young and mature fruit of C. chungtienensis, of which flavonoids were the most detected metabolites. Among the differentially accumulated metabolites, stachyose, maltotetraose and cis-aconitic acid were significantly increased during fruit ripening, and these may be important metabolites affecting fruit flavor change. Moreover, several flavonoids and terpenoids were reduced after fruit ripening compared with young fruit. Therefore, using the unripe fruit of C. chungtienensis may allow us to obtain more medicinal active ingredients such as flavonoids and terpenoids. Furthermore, we screened out some differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to fruit quality formation, which had important relationships with differentially accumulated sugars, acids, flavonoids and terpenoids. Our study provides new insights into flavor formation in wild hawthorn during fruit development and ripening, and at the same time this study lays the foundation for the improvement of hawthorn fruit flavor.
    Convergent relationships between flower economics and hydraulic traits across aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous plants
    Yan Ke, Feng-Ping Zhang, Yun-Bing Zhang, Wei Li, Qin Wang, Da Yang, Jiao-Lin Zhang, Kun-Fang Cao
    2023, 45(05):  601-610.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.01.006
    Abstract ( 25 )   HTML ( )   PDF (7920KB) ( 10 )   Save
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    Maintaining open flowers is critical for successful pollination and depends on long-term water and carbon balance. Yet the relationship between how flower hydraulic traits are coordinated in different habitats is poorly understood. Here, we hypothesize that the coordination and trade-offs between floral hydraulics and economics traits are independent of environmental conditions. To test this hypothesis, we investigated a total of 27 flower economics and hydraulic traits in six aquatic and six terrestrial herbaceous species grown in a tropical botanical garden. We found that although there were a few significant differences, most flower hydraulics and economics traits did not differ significantly between aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous plants. Both flower mass per area and floral longevity were significantly positively correlated with the time required for drying full-hydrated flowers to 70% relative water content. Flower dry matter content was strongly and positively related to drought tolerance of the flowers as indicated by flower water potential at the turgor loss point. In addition, there was a trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and the construction cost of a flower across species. Our results show that flowers of aquatic and terrestrial plants follow the same economics spectrum pattern. These results suggest a convergent flower economics design across terrestrial and aquatic plants, providing new insights into the mechanisms by which floral organs adapt to aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
    Is intraspecific trait differentiation in Parthenium hysterophorus a consequence of hereditary factors and/or phenotypic plasticity?
    Amarpreet Kaur, Shalinder Kaur, Harminder Pal Singh, Daizy R. Batish
    2023, 45(05):  611-620.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2022.09.002
    Abstract ( 22 )   HTML ( )   PDF (7849KB) ( 13 )   Save
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    Of the various strategies adopted by an invasive plant species for expanding its niche breadth, phenotypic differentiation (either due to plasticity and/or adaptive evolution) is proven to be the most successful. Lately, we studied the persistence of substantial morpho-functional variations within the individuals of alien invasive plant, Parthenium hysterophorus in Chandigarh, India, through field surveys. Based on observed differences, the individuals were categorized into two morphotypes, PA and PB. PA had higher leaf area, leaf biomass, and chlorophyll content as compared with PB. However, PB had a higher stem circumference, stem specific density, twig dry matter content, profuse branching, bigger canopy, and better reproductive output than PA. To substantiate the persistence of intraspecific variations in P. hysterophorus and to deduce the possible genesis of these variations, we propagated both the morphotypes under experimental conditions in winter and summer. Apart from the key morpho-functional differences observed during the field studies, protein and carbohydrate metabolism were studied in leaves and roots of the propagated plants. Differences in plant metabolism were observed only during the early growth period, whereas the morpho-functional traits varied in the mature flowering plants. The effect of growth season was highly significant on all the studied morpho-functional and biochemical parameters (p ≤ 0.05). Parent morphotypes (P) and interactions between morphotypes and seasons significantly affected several growth parameters (p ≤ 0.05). The analyses revealed that the contrasting growth conditions at the time of transplantation and early growth may regulate the phenotype of P. hysterophorus. The pattern of intraspecific variations observed during the study is justified to consider morphotype PA as winter biotype and morphotype PB as summer biotype of P. hysterophorus. The study points towards the role of plasticity or a combination of genetic and environmental (G×E) factors in producing the phenotypic variability observed in the population of P. hysterophorus.