Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (9): 1003-1019.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0388

Special Issue: 青藏高原植物生态学:群落生态学

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Phylogeographic breaks and the mechanisms of their formation in the Sino-Japanese floristic region

Jun-Wei YE1,2, Yang ZHANG1, Xiao-Juan WANG1,*()   

  1. 1Natural History Research Center of Shanghai Natural History Museum, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, Shanghai 200127, China

    2Shanghai Key Laboratory of Urbanization & Ecological Restoration, School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2016-05-24 Revised:2017-08-26 Online:2017-09-10 Published:2017-10-23
  • Contact: Xiao-Juan WANG


Due to combinations of diverse geography and climate, and complex geo-climate histories and sea level fluctuations, the Sino-Japanese floristic region has extremely high species diversity. Phylogeography is an effective method to identify the factors triggering the formation and differentiation of species diversity. Previous studies showed that phylogeographic breaks, the genetic discontinuity between different gene genealogies, were ubiquitously present. From the west to the east, seven general phylogeographic breaks occur, including the Mekong- Salween Divide, the Tanaka-Kaiyong Line, the Sichuan Basin, ca. 105° E, the boundary between the Second and Third ladders, the North China, and the East China Sea and Korea Strait. These phylogeographic breaks are mainly attributable to both historical and ecological factors, which are generally due to a combined effect of the isolation by distance (IBD) and the isolation by environment (IBE). Geological events and climate changes are the historical factors, mainly including the uplift of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, the formation and intensification of the Asian monsoon and the Asian interior aridification, the redevelopment of the arid belt, and the Quaternary climate oscillations and sea level fluctuations. Adaptive divergence, namely the divergence induced by different selective pressures under different environments, is responsible for the ecological factors. Adaptive divergence could obstacle gene flow among populations, resulting in the formation of phylogeographic break. However, an identical phylogeographic break is not shared by all the plants because of their various intrinsic biological characteristics, among which the difference in dispersal ability is most important. Finally, we envisaged the future development of phylogeographic break studies based on accurate divergence time estimation, relative contribution of IBD and IBE, and also the utilization of comparative phylogeography.

Key words: Sino-Japanese floristic region, phylogeographic break, geo-climate change, adaptive evolution, dispersal ability