Tosso F., Hardy O.J., Doucet J.L., Daïnou K., Esra Kaymak E., Migliore J.

[2018] Evolution in the Amphi-Atlantic tropical genus Guibourtia (Fabaceae, Detarioideae), combining NGS phylogeny and morphology. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 120, 83–93

Tropical rain forests support a remarkable diversity of tree species, questioning how and when this diversity arose. The genus Guibourtia (Fabaceae, Detarioideae), characterized by two South American and 13 African tree species growing in various tropical biomes, is an interesting model to address the role of biogeographic processes and adaptation to contrasted environments on species diversification. Combining whole plastid genome sequencing and morphological characters analysis, we studied the timing of speciation and diversification processes in Guibourtia through molecular dating and ancestral habitats reconstruction. All species except G. demeusei and G. copallifera appear monophyletic. Dispersal from Africa to America across the Atlantic Ocean is the most plausible hypothesis to explain the occurrence of Neotropical Guibourtia species, which diverged ca. 11.8 Ma from their closest African relatives. The diversification of the three main clades of African Guibourtia is concomitant to Miocene global climate changes, highlighting pre-Quaternary speciation events. These clades differ by their reproductive characters, which validates the three subgenera previously described: Pseudocopaiva, Guibourtia and Gorskia. Within most monophyletic species, plastid lineages start diverging from each other during the Pliocene or early Pleistocene, suggesting that these species already arose during this period. The multiple transitions between rain forests and dry forests/savannahs inferred here through the plastid phylogeny in each Guibourtia subgenus address thus new questions about the role of phylogenetic relationships in shaping ecological niche and morphological similarity among taxa.

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