Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 71–86 | Cite as

Species tree phylogeny, character evolution, and biogeography of the Patagonian genus Anarthrophyllum Benth. (Fabaceae)

  • Fernanda Achimón
  • Leigh A. Johnson
  • Andrea A. Cocucci
  • Alicia N. Sérsic
  • Matias C. Baranzelli
Original Article


Geologic events promoting the aridization of southern South America contributed to lineage divergences and species differentiation through geographic (allopatric divergence) and biotic and abiotic factors (ecological divergence). For the genus Anarthrophyllum, which is distributed in arid and semi-arid regions of Patagonia, we assessed how these factors affected species diversification and reconstructed its possible biogeographic history in South American arid environments. Sequences were obtained from two molecular markers: the ITS nuclear region and the trnS-trnG plastid region. Using Parsimony, Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference individual gene trees were reconstructed, and a species tree was obtained using multi-species coalescent analysis. Divergence times among species were estimated using secondary calibrations. Flexible Bayesian models and stochastic character mapping were used to elucidate ancestral geographic distributions and the evolution of the floral and vegetative phenotypes in the genus. Gene trees and species tree analyses strongly support Anarthrophyllum as monophyletic; all analyses consistently retrieved three well-supported main clades: High Andean Clade, Patagonian Clade 1, and Patagonian Clade 2. Main diversification events occurred concomitant with the Andean uplift and steppe aridization; the Andean mountain range possibly acted as a species barrier for the High Andean Clade. Vegetative traits showed adaptations to harsh climates in some clades, while pollinator-related floral features were associated with independent diversification in bee- and bird-pollinated clades within both Patagonian Clades. In conclusion, evolutionary and biogeographic history of Anarthrophyllum resulted from the action of ecological, historical, and geographic factors that acted either alternatively or simultaneously.


Arid lands Andes Payunia Molecular dating Patagonian steppe Ancestral state reconstruction 



We thank G. Hunzicker for assistance in sample collection. F. A. as a doctoral fellowship holder, M.C.B. as postdoctoral scholarship holder, and A.A.C. and A.N.S. as researchers acknowledge the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET). This work was supported by the National Research Council of Argentina (PIP 201101-00245; A.N.S.), National Ministry of Science and Technology (FONCYT-PICT-2011-0837; A.N.S.). We are grateful to J. Schwantz for helping us to spot the extremely rare S. paradoxa.

Supplementary material

13127_2017_355_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (101 kb)
Table S1 List of CORD specimens of Anarthrophyllum studied. Data collection and voucher information are also indicated. (PDF 101 kb)


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernanda Achimón
    • 1
  • Leigh A. Johnson
    • 2
  • Andrea A. Cocucci
    • 3
  • Alicia N. Sérsic
    • 3
  • Matias C. Baranzelli
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Fitoquímica - FCEFyN - Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (IMBIV)CONICET-Universidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Department of Biology and M. L. Bean Life Science MuseumBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Ecología Evolutiva - Biología Floral, Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (IMBIV)CONICET-Universidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina

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