Several recent studies have suggested that a substantial portion of today’s plant diversity in the Neotropics has resulted from the dispersal of taxa into that region rather than vicariance, but more data are needed to substantiate this claim. Guatteria (Annonaceae) is,
with 265 species, the third largest genus of Neotropical trees after Inga (Fabaceae) and Ocotea (Lauraceae), and its widespread distribution and frequent occurrence makes the genus an excellent model taxon to study diversification patterns. This study reconstructed
the phylogeny of Guatteria and inferred three major biogeographical events in the history of the genus: (1) a trans-oceanic Miocene migration from Central into South America before the closing of the Isthmus of Panama; (2) a major diversification of the lineage within South America; and (3) several migrations of South American lineages back into Central America via the closed Panamanian land bridge. Therefore, Guatteria is not an Amazonian centred-genus sensu Gentry but a major Miocene diversification that followed its dispersal into South America. This study provides further evidence that migration into the Neotropics was an important factor in the historical assembly of its biodiversity. Furthermore, it is shown that phylogenetic patterns are comparable to those found in Ocotea and Inga and that a closer comparison of these genera is desirable.
- rapid diversification
- rainforest trees