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Origin of the critically endangered endemic species Scrophularia takesimensis (Scrophulariaceae) on Ulleung Island, Korea: implications for conservation

Abstract

Scrophularia takesimensis is a critically endangered endemic species of Ulleung Island, Korea. A previous molecular phylogenetic study based on nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences with very limited sampling suggested that it is most closely related to the clade comprising S. alata and S. grayanoides. To determine the origin of S. takesimensis, we sampled a total of 171 accessions including S. takesimensis (9 populations and 63 individuals) and two closely related species, S. alata (11 populations and 68 individuals) and S. grayanoides (5 populations and 40 individuals) from eastern Asia and sequenced ITS and two chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) non-coding regions. Previously sequenced representative species of Scrophularia (109 taxa for ITS and 80 taxa for cpDNA) were combined with our data set and analyzed. While the global scale ITS phylogenetic tree suggests monophyly for each of the three eastern Asian species, S. takesimensis appears to be more closely related (albeit weakly) to a clade containing eastern North American/Caribbean species than to either S. alata or S. grayanoides. By contrast, the global scale cpDNA phylogenetic tree demonstrates that the eastern North America/Caribbean clade is sister to a clade comprising the three eastern Asian species. In addition, the monophyletic S. takesimensis is deeply embedded within paraphyletic S. alata, sharing its most recent common ancestor with populations from Japan/Sakhalin. Two divergent, geographically structured cp haplotype groups within S. takesimensis suggest at least two independent introductions from different source areas. A new and accurate chromosome number of S. takesimensis (2n = 94) is reported and some conservation strategies are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Seon A Yun, Hee Seung Seo, Joon Seon Lee, Petra Junes, and Ji-Hyeon Jeon for their assistance during the field work. We also wish to thank the Ministry of Environment, Daegu Branch, Korea, for issuing the sampling permit on Ulleung Island. We are greatly indebted to H. J. Choi, H. D. Jang, J. O. Hyun, and HHU for providing samples of Scrophularia from Russia and Japan and to J. Y. Yang for advice on chromosome counting. This work was supported in part by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea (NRF-2016R1D1A2B03934596 and NRF-2019R1A2C2009841). This manuscript represents a partial fulfillment of the doctoral degree at Sungkyunkwan University by the first author H-Y Gil.

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Gil, HY., Maki, M., Pimenova, E.A. et al. Origin of the critically endangered endemic species Scrophularia takesimensis (Scrophulariaceae) on Ulleung Island, Korea: implications for conservation. J Plant Res 133, 765–782 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-020-01221-z

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Keywords

  • Anagenesis
  • Haplotype network
  • Intercontinental disjunct distribution
  • Oceanic island