Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A comprehensive vicariant model for Southwest Pacific biotas

V. Ung A , B. Michaux B D and R. A. B. Leschen C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A CNRS UMR 7205 (CNRS-UPMC-MNHN), 57 Rue Cuvier CP43, F-75005 Paris, France.

B Private Bag, Kaukapakapa 0843, New Zealand.

C Landcare Research, New Zealand Arthropod Collection, Private Bag 92170, Auckland, New Zealand.

D Corresponding author. Email: bjmichaux@gmail.com

Australian Systematic Botany 29(6) 424-439 https://doi.org/10.1071/SB16032
Submitted: 16 August 2016  Accepted: 7 October 2016   Published: 11 May 2017

Abstract

In the present paper, we develop a new biogeographic model for the biota of the Southwest Pacific, using 76 published phylogenies for a range of island endemics or near-endemic organisms. These phylogenies were converted to areagrams by substituting distributions for taxa. Paralogy-free subtrees (3-item statements) were derived from these areagrams and used as input data into LisBeth that uses compatibility analysis and an exhaustive branch and bound algorithm to produce optimal trees. A general areagram is derived from all three-item statements common to the optimal trees. The results of the analysis show that the Melanesian Rift is not a natural biogeographic area; the islands of the Southwest Pacific are more closely related to each other than they are to Australia; and New Caledonia has had a long history of biological isolation. There is support for a general period of mobilism during the mid-Cenozoic when the biota as a whole expanded its range in response to regional uplift. By comparing the general areagram with what is known about the tectonic development of the region, it is possible to both calibrate the nodes of the areagram, and to identify points of conflict between the geological and biological data.


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