A molecular phylogeny of the fern family Pteridaceae: assessing overall relationships and the affinities of previously unsampled genera.
The monophyletic Pteridaceae accounts for roughly 10% of extant fern diversity and occupies an unusually broad range of ecological niches, including terrestrial, epiphytic, xeric-adapted rupestral, and even aquatic species. In this study, we present the results of the first broad-scale and multi-gene phylogenetic analyses of these ferns, and determine the affinities of several previously unsampled genera. Our analyses of two newly assembled data sets (including 169 newly obtained sequences) resolve five major clades within the Pteridaceae: cryptogrammoids, ceratopteridoids, pteridoids, adiantoids, and cheilanthoids. Although the composition of these clades is in general agreement with earlier phylogenetic studies, it is very much at odds with the most recent subfamilial classification. Of the previously unsampled genera, two (Neurocallis and Ochropteris) are nested within the genus Pteris; two others (Monogramma and Rheopteris) are early diverging vittarioid ferns, with Monogramma resolved as polyphyletic; the last previously unsampled genus (Adiantopsis) occupies a rather derived position among cheilanthoids. Interestingly, some clades resolved within the Pteridaceae can be characterized by their ecological preferences, suggesting that the initial diversification in this family was tied to ecological innovation and specialization. These processes may well be the basis for the diversity and success of the Pteridaceae today.
Schuettpelz, E; Schneider, H; Huiet, L; Windham, MD; Pryer, KM
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