Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 469–485 | Cite as

Factors driving adaptive radiation in plants of oceanic islands: a case study from the Juan Fernández Archipelago

  • Koji TakayamaEmail author
  • Daniel J. Crawford
  • Patricio López-Sepúlveda
  • Josef Greimler
  • Tod F. StuessyEmail author
Current Topics in Plant Research


Adaptive radiation is a common evolutionary phenomenon in oceanic islands. From one successful immigrant population, dispersal into different island environments and directional selection can rapidly yield a series of morphologically distinct species, each adapted to its own particular environment. Not all island immigrants, however, follow this evolutionary pathway. Others successfully arrive and establish viable populations, but they remain in the same ecological zone and only slowly diverge over millions of years. This transformational speciation, or anagenesis, is also common in oceanic archipelagos. The critical question is why do some groups radiate adaptively and others not? The Juan Fernández Islands contain 105 endemic taxa of angiosperms, 49% of which have originated by adaptive radiation (cladogenesis) and 51% by anagenesis, hence providing an opportunity to examine characteristics of taxa that have undergone both types of speciation in the same general island environment. Life form, dispersal mode, and total number of species in progenitors (genera) of endemic angiosperms in the archipelago were investigated from literature sources and compared with modes of speciation (cladogenesis vs. anagenesis). It is suggested that immigrants tending to undergo adaptive radiation are herbaceous perennial herbs, with leaky self-incompatible breeding systems, good intra-island dispersal capabilities, and flexible structural and physiological systems. Perhaps more importantly, the progenitors of adaptively radiated groups in islands are those that have already been successful in adaptations to different environments in source areas, and which have also undergone eco-geographic speciation. Evolutionary success via adaptive radiation in oceanic islands, therefore, is less a novel feature of island lineages but rather a continuation of tendency for successful adaptive speciation in lineages of continental source regions.


Adaptation Anagenesis Biogeography Cladogenesis Robinson Crusoe Islands Speciation 



It is a pleasure to thank the Corporación Nacional Forestal of Chile (CONAF) for permits to collect samples and make observations in the Robinson Crusoe Islands national park. We especially thank Sr. Ivan Leiva, Chief of the park, and the many competent CONAF guides who have always made our research possible in the archipelago. The University of Hawaii Press generously granted permission to reproduce vegetation maps of the two islands published originally in Pacific Science. We also thank the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for support under Grant number P21723-B16 to TFS, National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT) for support under Grant number 1160794 to PL-S, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for support under Open Partnership Joint Project to KT.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koji Takayama
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel J. Crawford
    • 2
  • Patricio López-Sepúlveda
    • 3
  • Josef Greimler
    • 4
  • Tod F. Stuessy
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Biodiversity InstituteUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  4. 4.Department of Botany and Biodiversity ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  5. 5.Herbarium and Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal BiologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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