Evolutionary relationships within the Neotropical, eusporangiate fern genus Danaea (Marattiaceae).
Genera within the eusporangiate fern family Marattiaceae have long been neglected in taxonomic and systematic studies. Here we present the first phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships within the exclusively Neotropical genus Danaea based on a sampling of 60 specimens representing 31 species from various Neotropical sites. We used DNA sequence data from three plastid regions (atpB, rbcL, and trnL-F), morphological characters from both herbarium specimens and live plants observed in the field, and geographical and ecological information to examine evolutionary patterns. Eleven representatives of five other marattioid genera (Angiopteris, Archangiopteris, Christensenia, Macroglossum, and Marattia) were used to root the topology. We identified three well-supported clades within Danaea that are consistent with morphological characters: the "leprieurii" clade (containing species traditionally associated with the name D. elliptica), the "nodosa" clade (containing all species traditionally associated with the name D. nodosa), and the "alata" clade (containing all other species). All three clades are geographically and ecologically widely distributed, but subclades within them show various distribution patterns. Our phylogenetic hypothesis provides a robust framework within which broad questions related to the morphology, taxonomy, biogeography, evolution, and ecology of these ferns can be addressed.
Christenhusz, MJM; Tuomisto, H; Metzgar, JS; Pryer, KM
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