, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 157-166

Phylogenetic relationships between two rare acacias and their common, widespread relatives in south-western Australia

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Abstract

Knowledge of phylogenetic relationships betweentaxa is particularly valuable for conservationmanagement of threatened taxa in anevolutionarily diverse flora such as that foundin the south-west of Western Australia. Acacia sciophanes and A. lobulata aretwo threatened species that have restricteddistributions at the edge of the range of theirwidespread relatives, A. anfractuosa andA. verricula respectively. The phylogenyof these species pairs was investigated usingRFLP analysis of cpDNA. Both restricted specieswere shown to be phylogenetically distinct.Acacia sciophanes and A. anfractuosaare sister species and display the characteristics of a relatively recent evolutionary lineage. In comparison A. lobulata shows significant divergence from A. verricula and is not closely related to the species group in which A. verricula is placed. Acacia lobulataappears to represent an ancient lineage and ismost likely a relictual species. Acaciaverricula also has characteristics of a moreancient evolutionary lineage than A.sciophanes and A. anfractuosa. Ifpriority setting processes based onphylogenetic principles were to be applied tothese species A. lobulata would have thegreater biodiversity value for conservationmanagement.