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

Morphological and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) data show that New Zealand endemic Myosotis petiolata (Boraginaceae) comprises three rare and threatened species

Heidi M. Meudt A B F , Jessica M. Prebble A C , Rebecca J. Stanley D and Michael J. Thorsen E

A Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, PO Box 467, Cable Street, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.

B School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6140, New Zealand.

C Institute of Fundamental Science, Massey University, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand.

D Auckland Botanic Gardens, Auckland 2105, New Zealand.

E ERA Environment Solutions NZ Ltd, 12 Hellyer Street, Dunedin 9014, New Zealand.

F Corresponding author. Email: heidim@tepapa.govt.nz

Australian Systematic Botany 26(3) 210-232 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SB13023
Submitted: 3 June 2013  Accepted: 6 September 2013   Published: 18 October 2013

Abstract

Species delimitation is of critical importance in systematics and biological and conservation research. The general-lineage species concept, which defines species as separately evolving metapopulation lineages, considers multiple lines of evidence to identify lineages and delimit species boundaries. Here, we apply the general-lineage concept to the New Zealand endemic Myosotis petiolata Hook.f. (Boraginaceae) species complex, to test its usefulness in the New Zealand Myosotis L. species radiation. We aimed to determine whether the complex contains separately evolving lineages to assess the criteria of monophyly, distinct genotypic clusters and fixed morphological differences by using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and morphological data. The use of multiple criteria to identify separately evolving lineages within the M. petiolata complex was effective, but the different criteria were satisfied to varying degrees. Species rank is recommended for each of the currently recognised varieties as Myosotis pottsiana (L.B.Moore) Meudt, Prebble, R.J.Stanley & Thorsen (comb. & stat. nov.), M. pansa (L.B.Moore) Meudt, Prebble, R.J.Stanley & Thorsen (comb. & stat. nov.) and M. petiolata Hook.f. (North Island individuals only). A new allopatric subspecies, M. pansa subsp. praeceps Meudt, Prebble, R.J.Stanley & Thorsen (subsp. nov.), is also described. The distinguishing morphological characters and conservation status of each species are discussed. In addition, the low genetic diversity revealed in our population genetic analyses, coupled with few, fluctuating, disjunct populations, underscores the conservation priority of these three rare endemic New Zealand species.


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