Divergence times and the evolution of epiphytism in filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae) revisited
Although the phylogeny of the filmy fern family (Hymenophyllaceae) is rapidly coming into focus, much remains to be uncovered concerning the evolutionary history of this clade. In this study, we use two data sets (108-taxon rbcL+ rps4, 204-taxon rbcL) and fossil constraints to examine the diversification of filmy ferns and the evolution of their ecology within a temporal context. Our penalized likelihood analyses (with both data sets) indicate that the initial divergences within the Hymenophyllaceae (resulting in extant lineages) and those within one of the two major clades (trichomanoids) occurred in the early to middle Mesozoic. There was a considerable delay in the crown group diversification of the other major clade (hymenophylloids), which began to diversify only in the Cretaceous. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian character state reconstructions across the broadly sampled single-gene (rbcL) phylogeny do not allow us to unequivocally infer the ancestral habit for the family or for its two major clades. However, adding a second gene (rps4) with a more restricted taxon sampling results in a hypothesis in which filmy ferns were ancestrally terrestrial, with epiphytism having evolved several times independently during the Cretaceous. © 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
Hennequin, S; Schuettpelz, E; Pryer, KM; Ebihara, A; Dubuisson, J-Y
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