Biogeographic pattern analysis using chloroplast genome SNP mining

Not only is the pool-seq method remarkably accurate in measuring SNP frequencies but it can also reveal new information that biogeographic studies of plant distributions cannot, namely data on the relative amount of effective dispersal across geographic barriers.

Understanding the processes underlying plant dispersal is crucial to predicting their response to environmental change. Worth et al. investigate biogeographic patterns of chloroplast DNA polymorphisms detected using Next Generation Sequencing in 20 wet and dry plants common to forests on both sides of the 200 km wide Bass Strait, Southeastern Australia.

Higher proportions of shared polymorphisms across the Strait were found in dry-forest species, compared to wet-forest species, and especially in bird dispersed species. These findings support that plants of dry and open habitats have greater dispersal capacity, and highlight that habitat type and its interaction with dispersal traits are major influences on dispersal of plants.

Reference List

Worth, J. R. P., Holland, B. R., Beeton, N. J., Schönfeld, B., Rossetto, M., Vaillancourt, R. E., & Jordan, G. J. (2017). Habitat type and dispersal mode underlie the capacity for plant migration across an intermittent seaway. Annals of Botany, 120(4), 539–549.