Phylogeographic analyses reveal distinct lineages of the liverworts Metzgeria furcata (L.) Dumort. and Metzgeria conjugata Lindb. (Metzgeriaceae) in Europe and North America

Journal Article

Seed plant genera often exhibit intercontinental disjunctions where different species are found on different continents. Many morphologically circumscribed bryophyte species exhibit similar disjunctions. We used nucleotide sequences from the plastid and nuclear genomes to test hypotheses of phylogeography within representatives of the genus Metzgeria: Metzgeria furcata, Metzgeria conjugata, and Metzgeria myriopoda. The first two species have sexual and asexual populations, exhibit disjunctions between North America and Europe, and have been split into separate species, numerous subspecies or varieties. The third species occurs in eastern North America but is not reported from Europe. Phylogenetic analyses resolved three distinct lineages within the morphologically defined species, M. furcata: one in North America, and two in Europe. Similarly, three morphologically cryptic clades of M. conjugata were resolved by the molecular data: northern North America, Europe, and south-eastern North America. For both species, molecular divergence among taxa occurred in the absence of morphological change. In the case of M. myriopoda, all plants from eastern North America were both morphologically uniform and genetically homogeneous (although not identical). The present study provides significant insight into a plant group with complex taxonomy, and indicates that these liverwort taxa with wide distributions, extreme sex ratios, and continental disjunctions harbor cryptic lineages. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fuselier, L; Davison, PG; Clements, M; Shaw, B; Devos, N; Heinrichs, J; Hentschel, J; Sabovljevic, M; Szövényi, P; Schuette, S; Hofbauer, W; Shaw, AJ

Published Date

  • 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 98 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 745 - 756

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0024-4066

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2009.01319.x