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BACKGROUND: At a global scale, the temperate zone is highly fragmented both between and within hemispheres. This paper aims to investigate how the world's disjunct temperate zones have been colonised by the pan-temperate plant group Convolvuleae, sampling 148 of the c. 225 known species. We specifically determine the number and timing of amphitropical and transoceanic disjunctions, investigate the extent to which disjunctions in Convolvuleae are spatio-temporally congruent with those in other temperate plant groups and determine the impact of long-distance dispersal events on diversification rates. RESULTS: Eight major disjunctions are observed in Convolvuleae: two Northern Hemisphere, two Southern Hemisphere and four amphitropical. Diversity in the Southern Hemisphere is largely the result of a single colonisation of Africa 3.1-6.4 Ma, and subsequent dispersals from Africa to both Australasia and South America. Speciation rates within this monophyletic, largely Southern Hemisphere group (1.38 species Myr(-1)) are found to be over twice those of the tribe as a whole (0.64 species Myr(-1)). Increased speciation rates are also observed in Calystegia (1.65 species Myr(-1)). CONCLUSIONS: The Convolvuleae has colonised every continent of the world with a temperate biome in c. 18 Myr and eight major range disjunctions underlie this broad distribution. In keeping with other temperate lineages exhibiting disjunct distributions, long-distance dispersal is inferred as the main process explaining the patterns observed although for one American-Eurasian disjunction we cannot exclude vicariance. The colonisation of the temperate zones of the three southern continents within the last c. 4 Myr is likely to have stimulated high rates of diversification recovered in this group, with lineage accumulation rates comparable to those reported for adaptive radiations.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Evol Biol

Publication Date





Africa, Convolvulaceae, Introduced Species, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, South America