The Botanical Review

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 528–541 | Cite as

Molecular Systematics of Threatened Seed Plant Species Endemic in the Caribbean Islands

  • Nora Oleas
  • Brett Jestrow
  • Michael Calonje
  • Brígido Peguero
  • Francisco Jiménez
  • Rosa Rodríguez-Peña
  • Ramona Oviedo
  • Eugenio Santiago-Valentín
  • Alan W. Meerow
  • Melissa Abdo
  • Michael Maunder
  • M. Patrick Griffith
  • Javier Francisco-Ortega


A review of available Caribbean Island red-lists species (CR and EN categories based on the IUCN guidelines from 2001, and E category established according to the IUCN guidelines from 1980) is presented. A database of over 1,300 endemic species that are either Critically Endangered or Endangered sensu IUCN was created. There are molecular systematic studies available for 112 of them. Six of these species (in six genera) are the only members of early divergent lineages that are sister to groups composed of a large number of clades. Seven of the species (in seven genera) belong to clades that have a small number of taxa but are sister to species/genus-rich clades. Ten of the species (in six genera) are sister to taxa restricted to South America or nested in clades endemic to this region. Fifty-seven of the species (in 35 genera) are sister to Caribbean Island endemic species. Erigeron belliastroides, an Endangered (EN) Cuban endemic, is sister to the Galapagos genus Darwiniothamnus. The phylogenetic placement of four of the threatened species resulted in changes in their taxonomic placement; they belong to polyphyletic or paraphyletic genera.


Biodiversity hotspots Tropical islands Phylogenies Spermatophyta IUCN Red lists 



We dedicate this paper to Dr. Victoria Sosa in recognition for her contributions to the advancement of molecular systematics in Latin America. Nora Oleas thanks Fairchild Tropical Garden and Florida International University for their support to attend the “10th Congreso Latinoamericano de Botánica”. We are grateful to Dr. Fabián Michelangeli and Prof. Richard Olsmtead for their insights concerning taxonomy of the Melastomataceae and Bignoniaceae, respectively. Thanks are due Dr. Larry Noblick and Dr. Scott Zona for their help on the biogeography of Caribbean palms, and to Dr. Johan Rova for helping in tracking taxonomic literature pertinent to Rondeletia. Dr. Brian Boom and an anonymous referee critically reviewed the manuscript. This is contribution 209 from the Tropical Biology Program of Florida International University.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora Oleas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Brett Jestrow
    • 2
  • Michael Calonje
    • 1
    • 4
  • Brígido Peguero
    • 5
  • Francisco Jiménez
    • 5
  • Rosa Rodríguez-Peña
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Ramona Oviedo
    • 6
  • Eugenio Santiago-Valentín
    • 7
  • Alan W. Meerow
    • 8
  • Melissa Abdo
    • 2
  • Michael Maunder
    • 1
  • M. Patrick Griffith
    • 4
  • Javier Francisco-Ortega
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Kushlan Tropical Science InstituteFairchild Tropical Botanic GardenMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Cambio ClimáticoUniversidad Tecnológica IndoaméricaQuitoEcuador
  4. 4.Montgomery Botanical CenterMiamiUSA
  5. 5.Departamento de BotánicaJardín Botánico NacionalSanto DomingoRepública Dominicana
  6. 6.HerbarioInstituto de Ecología y SistemáticaLa HabanaCuba
  7. 7.Jardín Botánico de Puerto RicoUniversidad de Puerto RicoSan JuanUSA
  8. 8.United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research ServiceNational Germplasm RepositoryMiamiUSA

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