Refugia and geographic barriers of populations of the desert poppy, Hunnemannia fumariifolia (Papaveraceae)

Research paper by Eduardo Ruiz-Sanchez, Flor Rodriguez-Gomez, Victoria Sosa

Indexed on: 15 Apr '12Published on: 15 Apr '12Published in: Organisms Diversity & Evolution


Phylogeographic data and divergence estimation times as well as current and past ecological niche modeling for the Mexican tulip poppy, Hunnemannia fumariifolia Sweet, were combined in order to understand its biogeographic history. Divergence times were estimated to determine if divergence occurred during the Pleistocene. Ecological niche modelling was used to determine if the last glacial maximum (LGM) was responsible for the southward movement of poppy populations into the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley. Analyses were performed to detect any geographical barriers that might have caused genetic discontinuities among populations across the entire range of distribution. Current and Pleistocene ecological niche models were created for H. fumariifolia using eight environmental variables derived from temperature and precipitation. The evidence shows that divergence of the three main clades in H. fumariifolia occurred from the Early Pleistocene to Mid-Miocene. It was also found that gene flow between the populations of H. fumariifolia could have been limited by the LGM, by climate change during the Quaternary, and by the complex topography of the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Furthermore, all of these processes may have resulted in the patchy distribution of suitable microhabitats for H. fumariifolia in its geographical range. Ecological niche models constructed using the MIROC3 model indicated that populations did not move to the north but rather that they had suitable ecological habitats in the Chihuahuan Desert, which harbored Pinus-Juniperus forests during that period.