Skip to main content

Comparative phylogeography of red maple (Acer rubrum L.) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum L.): impacts of habitat specialization, hybridization and glacial history

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Abstract Aim 

We analysed variation in chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) in red maple (Acer rubrum L.) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum L.) across a large part of their geographic ranges. Acer rubrum is one of the most common and morphologically variable deciduous trees of eastern North America, while its sister species A. saccharinum has a more restricted habitat distribution and displays markedly less morphological variation. Our objective was to infer the impact of biogeographic history on cpDNA diversity and phylogeographic structure in both species. Location 

Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Methods 

We sequenced 1289 to 1645 bp of non-coding cpDNA from A. rubrum (n =258) and A. saccharinum (n =83). Maximum parsimony networks and spatial analysis of molecular variance (SAMOVA) were used to analyse phylogeographic structure. Rarefaction analyses were used to compare genetic diversity. Results 

A total of 40 cpDNA haplotypes were recovered from A. rubrum (38 haplotypes) and A. saccharinum (7 haplotypes). Five of the seven A. saccharinum haplotypes were shared with nearby samples of A. rubrum. SAMOVA recovered four phylogeographic groups for A. rubrum in: (1) south-eastern USA, (2) the Gulf and south-eastern Coastal Plain, (3) the lower Mississippi River Valley, and (4) the central and northern regions of eastern North America. Acer saccharinum had significantly lower haplotype diversity than A. rubrum, and novel haplotypes in post-glaciated northern limits of its range were shared with A. rubrum. Main conclusions 

This is the first study of A. rubrum to report a distinct phylogeographic group centred on the lower Mississippi River, and the first to examine data comparatively with A. saccharinum. We hypothesized that A. rubrum would display stronger phylogeographic structure and greater haplotype diversity than A. saccharinum because of its greater geographic range, and ecological and morphological variation. This hypothesis was supported by the cpDNA analysis. The sharing of cpDNA and chloroplast simple sequence repeat (cpSSR) haplotypes in areas of geographic overlap provides evidence of introgression, which led to an increase in haplotype diversity in both species, and to novel phylogeographic structure in A. rubrum. We recommend that introgression be considered, along with other potential causes, as an explanation for the phylogeographic structure of cpDNA in plants.

Keywords: Acer; SAMOVA; chloroplast DNA; eastern North America; genetic diversity; haplotype sharing; introgression; maples

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Herbarium, University of Michigan, 830 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048, USA 2: School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, 440 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1041, USA 3: Makino Herbarium, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan

Publication date: May 1, 2011


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more
Real Time Web Analytics