Chapter

Molecular Systematics of Plants II

pp 410-441

Molecular Phylogenetic Insights on the Origin and Evolution of Oceanic Island Plants

  • Bruce G. Baldwin
  • , Daniel J. Crawford
  • , Javier Francisco-Ortega
  • , Seung-Chul Kim
  • , Tao Sang
  • , Tod F. Stuessy

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Abstract

The floras and faunas of oceanic islands have fascinated evolutionary biologists since the time of Darwin (1859) and Wallace (1880). Questions that first arose about island life are among those still being addressed today: How did terrestrial organisms come to exist on remote islands? What ancestors gave rise to island lifeforms? Why are so many insular species unique and different from those of other islands and continental settings? For Darwin, such questions about organisms of the Galápagos archipelago were helpful in formulating his ideas about evolutionary change.