Phylogeography of Brazilian pine (Araucaria angustifolia): integrative evidence for pre-Columbian anthropogenic dispersal

  • Miguel Busarello LauterjungEmail author
  • Alison Paulo Bernardi
  • Tiago Montagna
  • Rafael Candido-Ribeiro
  • Newton Clóvis Freitas da Costa
  • Adelar Mantovani
  • Maurício Sedrez dos Reis
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Taxonomy


Phylogeographic studies allow us to better understand the past history of species and the factors that mold their current distribution. Here, we demonstrate the potential human impact on the distribution of a tree species. In particular, it was hypothesized that Araucaria angustifolia, an endangered South American conifer, was dispersed from its Pleistocene glacial refugium to its maximum occurrence distribution (MOD), mainly by pre-Columbian human groups (ca 2000 years ago). In order to test this hypothesis, we sampled 20 A. angustifolia populations in southern Brazil. Our analysis consisted of an integrative phylogeographic approach, supported by ecological aspects of the species. Therefore, we constructed the species chloroplast haplotype network, tested for possible neutrality deviations, genetic divergence, association between genetic and geographic distances, and simulated the amount of time that the species required to reach its MOD without human help. The species showed clear signs of rapid and recent expansion from a single refugium. The haplotype network had a star-like shape. Populations and the species showed negative values for the neutrality tests and low divergence values among populations (FST = 0.041) not associated with geographic distance. The estimated dispersal time required for the species to reach its MOD from its putative refugium without human help is not consistent with the rapid and recent expansion of the species. Hence, we argue that humans played an important role in expanding the distribution of the currently endangered species, and it needs to be accounted for when analyzing landscape genetics or in the development of conservation strategies.


Chloroplast DNA Cultural landscape Plant phylogeography Pre-Columbian indigenous people Taquara/Itararé culture 



This work was supported by the National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq), process no. FAPESC/2780/2012-4 (PRONEX), 309128/2014-5 to M.S.R. and 130894/2015-0 to R.C.R., and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for the Master’s scholarship to M.B.L. and doctoral scholarships to A.P.B., T.M., and N.C.F.C. We would like to thank Santa Catarina State University (UDESC), Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), and Conservation and Use of Natural Resources (UCRN) and Physiology of Development and Plant Genetics Laboratory (LFDGV) research groups for logistical support, the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Institute (ICMBio), the Conservation Unities Division (DUC), and landowners that authorized and facilitated the sample collection. Additionally, we thank the anonymous reviewers for their effort in providing comments and suggestions, which substantially improved the manuscript.

Author’s contributions

This research represents part of a Master’ thesis of M.B.L. M.S.R., A.M. and M.B.L. designed the research; M.B.L., A.P.B., R.C.R., T.M. and N.C.F.C. collected the samples and performed the laboratory procedures; M.B.L. performed the analysis and wrote the draft of the manuscript; all authors reviewed and contributed to the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11295_2018_1250_MOESM1_ESM.docx (271 kb)
Supplementary File S1 Supporting ecological evidence (DOCX 271 kb)
11295_2018_1250_MOESM2_ESM.docx (218 kb)
Supplementary File S2 Human occupation records inside the Araucaria Forest domain in the past. (DOCX 218 kb)
11295_2018_1250_MOESM3_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary File S3 Coordinates of the 20 Araucaria angustifolia studied populations in southern Brazil. (DOCX 26 kb)
11295_2018_1250_MOESM4_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Supplementary File S4 Pairwise FST values (under diagonal) from 20 Araucaria angustifolia populations and their respective p-values (above diagonal). Negative values should be interpreted as zero. (DOCX 35 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Busarello Lauterjung
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alison Paulo Bernardi
    • 1
  • Tiago Montagna
    • 1
  • Rafael Candido-Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Newton Clóvis Freitas da Costa
    • 1
  • Adelar Mantovani
    • 2
  • Maurício Sedrez dos Reis
    • 1
  1. 1.Núcleo de Pesquisas em Florestas Tropicais (NPFT)Universidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Uso e Conservação dos Recursos Florestais (UCRF)Universidade do Estado de Santa CatarinaLagesBrazil

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