- Human-induced hybridization among congeneric endemic plants on Tenerife, Canary Islands
- Plant Systematics and Evolution
- Volume | Issue number
- 298 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Endemic genera on oceanic islands often evolved striking morphological and ecological differences among species, with weak postzygotic reproductive isolation. Human activities can lead to increased connectivity and can thereby promote secondary contact and hybridization between previously isolated species. We studied this phenomenon in three species of the genus Pericallis (Asteraceae) on Tenerife, Canary Islands. A total of 53 populations was sampled, including morphologically uniform as well as mixed populations containing morphologically diverse individuals. All plants were analyzed both genetically using AFLP markers and morphometrically. As expected, morphological analysis clearly separated the plants from the uniform populations in three clusters, with distinguishing characters corresponding to those used in species identification. The three species were also grouped into distinct genetic clusters in a structure analysis, although no private alleles were observed. Adding the mixed population data to the analyses provided evidence for extensive hybridization among species, predominantly between P. cruenta and P. echinata, and between P. cruenta and P. tussilaginis, and morphological and genetic signals were congruent. The mixed populations were geographically located in between the uniform populations and were found in road verges significantly more often than the uniform populations. The observed distribution strongly suggests that hybridization between originally isolated species is recent, promoted by secondary contact due to human disturbance and the construction of roads.
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