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Origin and diversification of the genus Echium (Boraginaceae) in the Cape Verde archipelago

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Much work has been done on the endemic floras of Madeira and the Canary Islands but little is known about the origin and diversification of endemic plants of the Cape Verde archipelago. In this study we focus on the three endemic species of the genus Echium L. (Boraginaceae) in Cape Verde. Phylogenetic analyses based on nuclear (ITS1, ITS2) and plastid (trnT-L, trnL-F, rps16, psaI-accd) DNA markers produced similar topologies that suggest a recent single colonization event in the Cape Verde archipelago, with subsequent diversification during the Pleistocene (<1.8 Ma). All datasets recovered a split between the "southern" (E. hypertropicum, E. vulcanorum) and "northern" (E. stenosiphon s.l.) island species, and suggest that habitat adaptation and inter-island colonization played a prominent role in the evolution of Echium in Cape Verde. Implications of the results are discussed in the context of the biogeography of the Macaronesian Islands. The northern island species are classified into three distinct subspecies, one for each of the northern islands: E. stenosiphon subsp. stenosiphon endemic to São Vicente, subsp. lindbergii endemic to Santo Antão, and subsp. glabrescens endemic to São Nicolau.
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Keywords: CAPE VERDE ISLANDS; MACARONESIA; PHYLOGENY; SYSTEMATICS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Plant Systems Biology Lab. (BioFIG), University of Lisbon, Faculty of Science, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal; Tropical Research Institute (IICT), Tropical Botanical Garden (JBT), Trav. Conde da Ribeira, 9, 1300-142 Lisbon, Portugal 2: CBA, Computational Biology & Population Genomics Group, Faculty of Science, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal 3: Tropical Research Institute (IICT), Tropical Botanical Garden (JBT), Trav. Conde da Ribeira, 9, 1300-142 Lisbon, Portugal 4: Plant Systems Biology Lab. (BioFIG), University of Lisbon, Faculty of Science, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal; National Museum of Natural History & CBA, Botanic Garden, Faculty of Science, Rua Escola Politecnica 58, 1250-102 Lisbon, Portugal 5: Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, U.K. 6: Plant Systems Biology Lab. (BioFIG), University of Lisbon, Faculty of Science, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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