Rapid in situ diversification rates in Rhamnaceae explain the parallel evolution of high diversity in temperate biomes from global to local scales

New Phytol. 2024 Feb;241(4):1851-1865. doi: 10.1111/nph.19504. Epub 2024 Jan 16.


The macroevolutionary processes that have shaped biodiversity across the temperate realm remain poorly understood and may have resulted from evolutionary dynamics related to diversification rates, dispersal rates, and colonization times, closely coupled with Cenozoic climate change. We integrated phylogenomic, environmental ordination, and macroevolutionary analyses for the cosmopolitan angiosperm family Rhamnaceae to disentangle the evolutionary processes that have contributed to high species diversity within and across temperate biomes. Our results show independent colonization of environmentally similar but geographically separated temperate regions mainly during the Oligocene, consistent with the global expansion of temperate biomes. High global, regional, and local temperate diversity was the result of high in situ diversification rates, rather than high immigration rates or accumulation time, except for Southern China, which was colonized much earlier than the other regions. The relatively common lineage dispersals out of temperate hotspots highlight strong source-sink dynamics across the cosmopolitan distribution of Rhamnaceae. The proliferation of temperate environments since the Oligocene may have provided the ecological opportunity for rapid in situ diversification of Rhamnaceae across the temperate realm. Our study illustrates the importance of high in situ diversification rates for the establishment of modern temperate biomes and biodiversity hotspots across spatial scales.

Keywords: Mediterranean-type ecosystem; Rhamnaceae; biodiversity hotspot; macroevolution; niche conservatism; phylogenomics; species richness; time-for-speciation.

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Ecosystem
  • Genetic Speciation
  • Phylogeny
  • Rhamnaceae*