Genetic insights into the biogeography of the southeastern North American endemic, Ceratiola ericoides (Empetraceae)
Abbreviated Journal Title
POPULATIONS; DIVERSITY; DIFFERENTIATION; DISTANCE; FLORIDA; Genetics & Heredity
The southeastern United States harbors an unusually large number of endemic plant taxa, which may reflect the refugial nature of the region during Pleistocene glacial maxima. Understanding the genetic diversity and structure of extant plant taxa can provide insights into the biogeographical processes that shaped them genetically. Here, we investigate the levels and partitioning of allozyme diversity in the southeastern North American endemic, Ceratiola ericoides, which displayed greater genetic variation and structure than other endemics. Central Florida populations represent a center of genetic diversity, whereas South Carolina and Georgia Fall Line sandhill populations have a subset of the Central Florida generic diversity and may be relicts of a once continuous distribution. This much broader, continuous distribution throughout the southeastern United States occurred during glacial maxima when the scrub habitat, dominated by C. ericoides, expanded considerably owing to drier climatic conditions. Georgia Coastal Plain populations appear to have been independently founded more recently by propagules from Central Florida and the Fall Line sandhills because they have an even more limited subset of genetic diversity and greater generic heterogeneity among populations. Since their establishment, coastal plain populations appear to have had little, if any, gene exchange among each other or with the relatively proximate Fall Line sandhill populations. These data underscore the importance of understanding the genetic composition and historical biogeography of species before intelligent management or restoration decisions can be made regarding their preservation.
Journal of Heredity
"Genetic insights into the biogeography of the southeastern North American endemic, Ceratiola ericoides (Empetraceae)" (2007). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 7720.