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Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genve


WelcomeM. Perret
Evolution of pollination systems and the diversification of angiosperms in the Neotropics
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Evolution of pollination systems and the diversification of angiosperms in the Neotropics

Evolution of plant diversity in the Neotropics

Evolution de la diversification des plantes dans les Néotropiques

Stakeholders: M. Perret, M. Serrano Serrano, Prof. N. Salamin (University of Lausanne).

Our projects aim to better understand the processes that contribute to the origin and maintenance of the outstanding diversity of Neotropical plants. We focus on the sub-family Gesnerioideae, a monophyletic group of 1050 species distributed in various biomes of tropical America. Its large variation in ecological and phenotypic traits makes the group an excellent model taxon to study diversification. Using new and available DNA we produced a global phylogenetic tree for the Gesnerioideae with a complete species sampling in several lineages. Based on this historical framework, we reconstructed the evolution of pollination systems (i.e., hummingbirds, bees or bats) and evaluate their impact on diversification rates.

We identified a high frequency of pollinator transitions between hummingbirds and insects since 25 Mya, coinciding with the arrival of hummingbirds in South America. We demonstrated that floral specialization on hummingbirds for pollination has triggered rapid diversification in the Gesneriaceae family, and that it represents one of the oldest identified plant-hummingbird associations.

To further explore the molecular changes associated with pollinator transitions, we sequenced flower transcriptomes of six Gesneriaceae species. We hope this data will contribute to identify the genes and the mechanisms responsible for the convergent evolution of flower traits promoting specialized interactions with hummingbirds.

Related publications:

Serrano-Serrano M. L., A. Marcionetti, M. Perret and N. Salamin. 2017. Transcriptomic resources for an endemic Neotropical plant lineage (Gesneriaceae). Applications in Plant Sciences 5(4): 1600135; http://www.bioone.org/loi/apps

Serrano-Serrano M. L., J. Rolland, J. L. Clark, N. Salamin and M. Perret. 2017.
Hummingbird pollination and the diversification of angiosperms: an old and successful association in Gesneriaceae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20162816.

Serrano-Serrano M. L. 2016.
Correlates and genetic basis of plant diversification in the neotropics: the gesneriaceae as a case study. PhD thesis, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Serrano-Serrano M. L., M. Perret, M. Guignard, A. Chautems, D. Silvestro and N. Salamin. 2015.
Decoupled evolution of floral traits and climatic preferences in a clade of Neotropical Gesneriaceae. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15: 247

Perret, M., A. Chautems, R. Spichiger, T. G. Barraclough, and V. Savolainen. 2007. The geographical pattern of speciation and floral diversification in the Neotropics : the tribe Sinningieae (Gesneriaceae) as a case study. Evolution 61 :1641-1660.