Profile of a flower: How rates of morphological evolution drive floral diversification in Ericales and angiosperms

Julian Herting, Jürg Schönenberger, Hervé Sauquet

AbstractPremise of the StudyRecent studies of floral disparity in the asterid order Ericales have shown that flowers vary strongly among families and that disparity is unequally distributed between the three flower modules (perianth, androecium, gynoecium). However, it remains unknown whether these patterns are driven by heterogeneous rates of morphological evolution or other factors.MethodsHere, we compiled a dataset of 33 floral characters scored for 414 species of Ericales sampled from 346 genera and all 22 families. We conducted ancestral state reconstructions using an equal rates Markov model for each character. We estimated rates of morphological evolution for Ericales and for a separate angiosperm-wide dataset of 19 characters and 792 species, creating ?rate profiles? for Ericales, angiosperms and major angiosperm subclades. We compare morphological rates among flower modules within each dataset separately and between datasets, and we compare rates among angiosperm subclades using the angiosperm dataset.Key ResultsThe androecium exhibits the highest evolutionary rates across most characters, whereas most perianth and gynoecium characters evolve slower in both Ericales and angiosperms. Both high and low rates of morphological evolution can result in high floral disparity in Ericales. Analyses of an angiosperm-wide floral dataset reveal that this pattern appears to be conserved across most major angiosperm clades.ConclusionsElevated rates of morphological evolution in the androecium of Ericales may explain the higher disparity reported for this floral module. Comparing rates of morphological evolution through rate profiles proves to be a powerful tool in understanding floral evolution.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Department für Botanik und Biodiversitätsforschung
Externe Organisation(en)
National Herbarium of New South Wales, University of New South Wales
American journal of botany
ÖFOS 2012
106008 Botanik, 106012 Evolutionsforschung, 106042 Systematische Botanik
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Plant Science
Link zum Portal