Historical refugia and origins of genetic diversity in a Neotropical savanna tree species

Souza et al. investigate the role of Pleistocene climate changes in driving the geographic distribution and genetic diversity of Dimorphandra mollis, a tree species endemic to the Cerrado, the largest Neotropical savanna and a biodiversity hotspot. Statistical phylogeography, coalescent analyses and ecological niche modelling (ENM) revealed an extensive site of historical refugium across Central Brazil.

A spatial cline of genetic diversity decreasing outwards from the centre of this historically stable area was found. The discovery of this refugium could inform the implementation of conservation measures to safeguard the evolutionary potential of the species in face of the threats posed by future climate change.

Endemism Hotspots Cover

This article is part of the AoB Special Issue on Endemism Hotspots as Climate Change Refugia, which is free access for a couple of months, then behind the paywall for a while before being free access after February 2017.

Reference List

Souza, H. A. V. e, Collevatti, R. G., Lima-Ribeiro, M. S., Lemos-Filho, J. P. de, & Lovato, M. B. (2016). A large historical refugium explains spatial patterns of genetic diversity in a Neotropical savanna tree species. Annals of Botany, 119(2), 239–252. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcw096