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Diversity and Evolution of Flowering Plants of the Caatinga Domain

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Caatinga

Abstract

The Caatinga Domain (CD) in northeastern Brazil harbors the largest and most continuous expanse of the seasonally dry tropical forest and woodland biome (SDTFW) in the New World. Phytogeographical data collected over the past 10 years support previous hypotheses that recognized two major biotas in Caatinga SDTFW: the Crystalline Caatinga, mostly associated with medium to highly fertile soils in the wide Sertaneja Depression; and the Sedimentary Caatinga, mostly associated with poor sandy soils derived from patchy sedimentary surfaces. A third floristic set is represented by tall Caatinga forests. The CD is the richest SDTFW area in the New World, with 3150 species in 930 genera and 152 families of flowering plants. About 23% of the species and 31 genera are endemic to the CD. We performed phylogenetic meta-analyses to estimate times of divergence and ancestral areas for SDTFW lineages, which indicated that plant diversity in the Caatinga arose mostly by in situ speciation following Mid to Late Miocene vicariance events with two major SDTFW nuclei: (1) the northwestern Caribbean dry coast of Colombia and Venezuela; and (2) the southwestern South American dry forests of southern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. Phylogenetic analyses also uncovered unexpected patterns of recent radiations, with evolutionarily new species and incomplete lineage sorting that sharply contrast with the most common phylogenetic patterns found in SDTFW clades. Recent, mostly Pleistocene, ecological speciation better explains the emergence of distinct biotas on sandy and karstic surfaces.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the people who kindly shared their data on diversification of Acanthaceae (Ana Luiza Côrtes and Alessandro Rapini), Malpighiaceae (Charles Davis and Charles Willis), and Calliandra and Chloroleucon (Élvia Souza). Toby Pennington provided insightful comments on the manuscript, Naron Tranzillo helped with ArcMap, and Roy Funch performed a review of the language. This work received financial support from Sistema Nacional de Pesquisa em Biodiversidade (SISBIOTA processes CNPq 563084/2010-3 and FAPESB [Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado da Bahia] PES0053/2011) and NordEste project (NERC grant # NE/N012488/1 and FAPESP [Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo] grant # 2015/50488-5). DC and LPQ acknowledge the research productivity fellowships (grant # 306736/2015-2 and grant # 303585/2016-1, respectively) from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). MFM thanks FAPESP for a post-doctorate fellowship (FAPESP grant # 2013/15280-9) and a doctorate fellowship (grant # 141560/2015-0) from CNPq. DC also acknowledges the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) (Prêmio CAPES de Teses grant # 23038.009148/2013-19) and FAPESB (grant # APP0037/2016) for financial support for his research on legume systematics.

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de Queiroz, L.P., Cardoso, D., Fernandes, M.F., Moro, M.F. (2017). Diversity and Evolution of Flowering Plants of the Caatinga Domain. In: Silva, J.M.C., Leal, I.R., Tabarelli, M. (eds) Caatinga. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68339-3_2

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