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Glacial refugia and reticulate evolution: the case of the Tasmanian eucalypts


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McKinnon, GE, Jordan, GJ, Vaillancourt, RE, Steane, DA and Potts, BM 2004 , 'Glacial refugia and reticulate evolution: the case of the Tasmanian eucalypts' , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B Biological Sciences, vol. 359, no. 1442 , pp. 275-284 , doi: 10.1098/rstb.2003.1391.

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Tasmania is a natural laboratory for investigating the evolutionary processes of the Quaternary. It is a
large island lying 40-44 degrees S, which was repeatedly glaciated and linked to southeastern continental Australia
during the Quaternary. Climate change promoted both the isolation of species in glacial refugia, and an
exchange between Tasmanian and mainland floras. Eucalyptus is a complex and diverse genus, which has
increased in abundance in Australia over the past 100 kyr, probably in response to higher fire frequency.
Morphological evidence suggests that gene flow may have occurred between many eucalypt species after
changes in their distribution during the Quaternary. This paper summarizes recent genetic evidence for
migration and introgressive hybridization in Tasmanian Eucalyptus. Maternally inherited chloroplast
DNA reveals a long-term persistence of eucalypts in southeastern Tasmanian refugia, coupled with
introgressive hybridization involving many species. Detailed analysis of the widespread species Eucalyptus
globulus suggests that migration from mainland Australia was followed by introgression involving a rare
Tasmanian endemic. The data support the hypothesis that changes in distribution of interfertile species
during the Quaternary have promoted reticulate evolution in Eucalyptus.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:McKinnon, GE and Jordan, GJ and Vaillancourt, RE and Steane, DA and Potts, BM
Keywords: glacial refugia; Eucalyptus; chloroplast; phylogeography; hybrid; Tasmania
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B Biological Sciences
DOI / ID Number: 10.1098/rstb.2003.1391
Additional Information:

BM Potts. The definitive version is available online at

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