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Contrasting phylogeographical patterns of two closely related species, Machilus thunbergii and Machilus kusanoi (Lauraceae), in Taiwan

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Abstract Aim 

The purpose of this paper was to study the patterns of genetic variation, demographic history, haplotype relationships and potential location of diversity centres of two closely related species, Machilus thunbergii and Machilus kusanoi. Location 

The phylogeography of M. thunbergii and M. kusanoi was examined by sampling 110 and 106 individuals from 25 and 16 sampling sites, respectively, across their distributional range in Taiwan. Machilus thunbergii is distributed on the Asian mainland, South Korea, southern Japan, the Ryukyus, Taiwan and the Philippines, whereas M. kusanoi is endemic to Taiwan. These two species are closely related, and both are widely distributed in Taiwan but occupy different altitudinal zones and habitats. Methods 

The range-wide variation of M. thunbergii and M. kusanoi in Taiwan was studied using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) variations. A haplotype network was constructed with the computer programtcs. Nested clade analysis was conducted with the computer programceodis, and various parameters of genetic diversity were calculated and neutrality tested by the computer program DnaSP. Population differentiation was estimated using the programsarlequinandhapstep. The contribution of the populations to gene diversity and to allelic richness was calculated using the softwarecontrib. The level of divergence for each population from the remaining populations was calculated as the mean value of pairwise FST for each population against the rest of the populations. Results 

Extremely low levels of genetic differentiation were found for both species. This result suggested that these two species probably survived in multiple relict refugia with different population sizes throughout the island during low-temperature periods of the Pleistocene. In addition, nested clade analysis (NCA) of cpDNA haplotypes indicated that restricted gene flow with isolation-by-distance characterized the recolonization after the Pleistocene by Tashueshan and Shiouhluan populations of M. thunbergii in the north-central area west of the Central Mountain Range (CMR). In contrast, NCA analysis indicated that a major diversity centre on the southern tip of the island (Kending population) and contiguous range expansion characterized the recolonization by M. kusanoi of northern areas along the east side of the CMR. The major diversity centres found for the two species examined were further supported by the results of the mean FST for individual populations in comparison with other populations, and of the contribution of the divergence component to the total diversity. Main conclusions 

This research supports the multiple relict refugia hypothesis for both species investigated. Populations of M. thunbergii at Shiouhluan and Tashueshan in the north-central area west of the CMR represent a diversity centre currently expanding its size. A diversity centre at the southern-edge population of M. kusanoi, and a contiguous range expansion from Kending, were found. These results indicate that the M. thunbergii populations at Tashueshan and Shiouhluan and the M. kusanoi population at Kending, and even Soukar, are evolutionarily significant units for conservation programmes.
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Keywords: Conservation; Machilus kusanoi; Machilus thunbergii; Taiwan; cpDNA; diversity centre; phylogeography

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Plant Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 2: Divisions of Silviculture 3: Forest Biology, Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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