Plant phylogeography in Southern South America
Martinez Araneda, Camila
This thesis is a phylogeographic investigation into plant species from Patagonia, and aims to infer their past distributions from the study of genealogical lineages. These species have gone through several events such as glacial periods, volcanism and topographical change which are expected to contribute to the divergence of genetic lineages by shaping distributions, isolating populations and therefore changing their genetic structure. So understanding how these processes have affected populations is important to get information on how the biodiversity in the region has been assembled, to identify hotspots of intra-specific diversity and therefore to establish potential conservation priorities. Several multi-species phylogeographic studies have been done in the northern hemisphere, but only few are published for South America and even less for the studied area. Patagonia is an area of a great interest because is the only area in the southern hemisphere apart from Antarctica that have been covered buy a thick layer of ice within the glacial periods. It has high levels of endemism, due to its natural boundaries and environmental processes, and is a biodiversity hotspot for conservation. Its varied topography (two big mountain ranges with a north-south distribution divided by a low flat area) also makes Patagonia interesting to study, due to the likelihood of this impacting on phylogeographic patterns. This study encompass seven different Patagonian species of which one is a range restricted conifer and the rest are all angiosperms and include trees, shrubs and herbs with a broad distributions. The reason why I have chosen so many different species is to look for general phylogeographic patterns in species in this region. The thesis was constructed in five chapters. The first is an introductory chapter that provides background to the study system and concepts. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 are empirical phylogeographic studies. These are written as self-contained chapters with the intention that each will be submitted as a separate paper. This leads to some repetition between chapters, but this is intentional as each will need to ‘stand alone’ when submitted for publication. Chapter 2 is a general investigation into five different Patagonian plant species: Discaria chacaye, Donatia fascicularis, Escallonia virgata, Tepualia stipularis and Weinmannia trichosperma. Chapter 3 describes the phylogeographic structure of Gentianella magellanica an annual, cold tolerant species with a wide distribution throughout Patagonia. This species was treated separately and in more detail than the previous five species due to its marked phylogeographic structure. Chapter 4 describes the phylogeographic structure of a Chilean endemic conifer Prumnopitys andina. This has a small distribution in the Andes and only one known population in the coastal cordillera. It was treated separately due to its restricted distribution and different mode of chloroplast inheritance (paternal). Chapter 5, is a general summary, bring all of the results together and giving a wider explanation of the phylogeographic patterns for all species and an outline of future research areas.