Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (11): 1196-1204.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019146

Special Issue: 物种形成与系统进化

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

One or more species? GBS sequencing and morphological traits evidence reveal species diversification of Sphaeropteris brunoniana in China

Morigengaowa 1,2,Hui Shang1,Baodong Liu2,Ming Kang3,Yuehong Yan1,*()   

  1. 1 Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden; Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602
    2 Key Laboratory of Plant Biology, College of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin Normal University, Harbin 150025
    3 Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
  • Received:2019-04-29 Accepted:2019-06-29 Online:2019-11-20 Published:2020-01-17
  • Contact: Yan Yuehong


Species are not static, but in the process of continuous differentiation and evolution. In this context, reproductive isolation is considered the key to most speciation events. However, species that may be only partially reproductively isolated may disturb our understanding of a species, as stated by ‘The integrative species concept’. In the Flora of China, Chinese Sphaeropteris contains two species, S. brunoniana and S. lepifera. S. brunoniana is thought to be the same species as a Hainan native, S. hainanensis, however, S. hainanensis seems to have differentiated morphologically. This study further explores the genetic relationship between S. brunoniana and its related species by collecting 21 samples from 9 populations for GBS reduced-representation genome sequencing for phylogenetic analysis. Using both genetic and morphological data, our results indicate that S. hainanensis differs genetically from S. brunoniana, but is also morphologically distinct based on leaf characteristics and spore ornamentation. Although the reproductive isolation of the two populations is weak, hybrids are formed in the coastal areas of Guangxi and leaves mimic intermediate morphology between parents. Therefore, our results suggest that S. hainanensis is in the process of speciation due to geographic isolation and suggests to restore its species status. S. brunoniana × hainanensis which the sample from Guangxi should be considered an independent natural hybrid taxon.

Key words: Sphaeropteris, S. hainanensis, speciation, natural hybridization, GBS, SNP