Systematic Botany (2015), 40(3): pp. 716–725
© Copyright 2015 by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists – DOI 10.1600/036364415X689177 – Date of publication September 22, 2015
Elucidating Phylogenetic Relationships in the Aechmea Alliance: AFLP Analysis of Portea and the Gravisia Complex (Bromeliaceae, Bromelioideae)
Sascha Heller,1,2,6 Elton M. C. Leme,3 Katharina Schulte,4 Ana M. Benko-Iseppon,5 and Georg Zizka1,2
1Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Senckenberg Research Institute and Biodiversity and Climate Research Center (BiKF), Senckenberganlage 31, 60325 Frankfurt/Main, Germany 2Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University, Max-von-Laue-Strasse 13, 60439 Frankfurt/Main, Germany. 3Herbarium Bradeanum, Caixa Postal 15.005, CEP 20031-970, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 4Australian Tropical Herbarium and Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia. 5Department of Genetics, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Avenida Professor Moraes 1235, 50.670-420 Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. 6Author for correspondence (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Communicating Editor: Chrissen E. C. Gemmill
Abstract—Genetic concepts within the Bromelioideae are highly problematic, in particular within the tank-forming “core bromelioid” clade. Previous molecular studies showed that the largest genus, Aechmea, and allied genera are polyphyletic and require revision. Here we focus on one group within the Aechmea alliance, the Portea/Gravisia group. To assess whether species of this group form a distinct lineage within the core bromelioid clade, and to clarify generic limits and interspecific relationships within the group, we generated and analyzed amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP). In total, 69 species were sampled, including 26 species previously assigned to the Portea/ Gravisia group. Neighbor joining, maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses of the AFLP data consistently retrieved the Portea/Gravisia group as a monophyletic clade with several subclades, comprising species from the genera Aechmea, Canistrum and Portea. The phylogenetic distribution of polyporate pollen of the resulting trees indicates this character state arose once within the core bromelioids and thus can be regarded as a synapomorphy for the Portea/Gravisia clade. Further, our study shows that within the Portea/Gravisia group, subclades are characterized by petal color and geographic distribution. Thus, the present study is a further advance in the challenging task of elucidating phylogenetic relationships within the core bromelioids as the basis for a revised taxonomy of this ecologically important group. Keywords—Brazil, Canistrum, Nidularioids, phylogeny, pollen.