The genus Jovellana is the sister group to the larger genus Calceolaria, together composing the family Calceolariaceae. Four species are currently recognised, two in New Zealand (J. sinclairii, J. repens) and two in Chile (J. punctata, J. violacea). The distribution is disjunct across the Pacific Ocean and has long been believed to be a remnant of an ancient vicariance following the break-up of Gondwana. In this study we infer a species-tree phylogeny of the genus using three chloroplast and four nuclear DNA sequences. By exploring three modes of estimating stem and crown ages of the family Calceolariaceae, a Jovellana species tree could be inferred and dated using a secondary calibration. With this approach we can demonstrate that genetic data, despite slightly different signals from unlinked and linked molecular markers, support the idea that the presence of Jovellana in New Zealand is the result of recent long-distance dispersal across the Pacific Ocean from South America.
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Publication date: 14 April 2012