Interglacial genetic diversification of Moussonia deppeana (Gesneriaceae), a hummingbird-pollinated, cloud forest shrub in northern Mesoamerica.Mol Ecol. 2014 Aug; 23(16):4119-36.ME
Recent empirical work on cloud forest-adapted species supports the role of both old divergences across major geographical areas and more recent divergences attributed to Pleistocene climate changes. The shrub Moussonia deppeana is distributed in northern Mesoamerica, with geographically disjunct populations. Based on sampling throughout the species range and employing plastid and nuclear markers, we (i) test whether the fragmented distribution is correlated with main evolutionary lineages, (ii) reconstruct its phylogeographical history to infer the history of cloud forest in northern Mesoamerica and (iii) evaluate a set of refugia/vicariance scenarios for the region and demographic patterns of the populations whose ranges expanded and tracked cloud forest conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum. We found a deep evolutionary split in M. deppeana about 6-3 Ma, which could be consistent with a Pliocene divergence. Comparison of variation in plastid and nuclear markers revealed several lineages mostly congruent with their isolated geographical distribution and restricted gene flow among groups. Results of species distribution modelling and coalescent simulations fit a model of multiple refugia diverging during interglacial cycles. The demographic history of M. deppeana is not consistent with an expanding-contracting cloud forest archipelago model during the Last Glacial Maximum. Instead, our data suggest that populations persisted across the geographical range throughout the glacial cycles, and experienced isolation and divergence during interglacial periods.