A phylogenetic delimitation of the "Sphagnum subsecundum complex" (Sphagnaceae, Bryophyta).
A seemingly obvious but sometimes overlooked premise of any evolutionary analysis is delineating the group of taxa under study. This is especially problematic in some bryophyte groups because of morphological simplicity and convergence. This research applies information from nucleotide sequences for eight plastid and nuclear loci to delineate a group of northern hemisphere peat moss species, the so-called Sphagnum subsecundum complex, which includes species known to be gametophytically haploid or diploid (i.e., sporophytically diploid-tetraploid). Despite the fact that S. subsecundum and several species in the complex have been attributed disjunct ranges that include all major continents, phylogenetic analyses suggest that the group is actually restricted to Europe and eastern North America. Plants from western North America, from California to Alaska, which are morphologically similar to species of the S. subsecundum complex in eastern N. America and Europe, actually belong to a different deep clade within Sphagnum section Subsecunda. One species often considered part of the S. subsecundum complex, S. contortum, likely has a reticulate history involving species in the two deepest clades within section Subsecunda. Nucleotide sequences have a strong geographic structure across the section Subsecunda, but shallow tip clades suggest repeated long-distance dispersal in the section as well.
Shaw, AJ; Boles, S; Shaw, B
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