Species delimitation and the origin of populations in island representatives of Phylica (Rhamnaceae)

James E. Richardson, Michael F. Fay, Quentin C.B. Cronk, Mark W. Chase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Relationships between the closely related island species of Phylica (Rhamnaceae) and a mainland species, P. paniculata, were elucidated using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs). Parsimony, neighbor joining, and principal coordinate (PCO) analyses indicated that each of the species studied is distinct. AFLPs were also useful in elucidating the genetic relationships and possible infraspecific origins of different island populations in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Phylica nitida on Réunion is likely to have been derived from P. nitida on Mauritius. Although the sampling on New Amsterdam is not extensive, the data are also consistent with the hypothesis that P. arborea on New Amsterdam was derived from a single colonization of P. arborea from Cough Island. Similarly, the Cough Island population appears to have been derived from a single colonization event, but it is so distinct from those on Tristan da Cunha, that there may have been two separate dispersals to Gough and Tristan/Nightingale from different lines of the mainland progenitor. There is also evidence of a recolonization from Cough to Tristan da Cunha. Thus, Phylica arborea is capable of repeated long distance dispersal, up to 8000 km, even though the fruits and seeds are not of a type normally associated with this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-827
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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