Biogeographic analysis of the woody plants of the Southern Appalachians: Implications for the origins of a regional flora.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


PREMISE OF THE STUDY: We investigated the origins of 252 Southern Appalachian woody species representing 158 clades to analyze larger patterns of biogeographic connectivity around the northern hemisphere. We tested biogeographic hypotheses regarding the timing of species disjunctions to eastern Asia and among areas of North America. METHODS: We delimited species into biogeographically informative clades, compiled sister-area data, and generated graphic representations of area connections across clades. We calculated taxon diversity within clades and plotted divergence times. KEY RESULTS: Of the total taxon diversity, 45% were distributed among 25 North American endemic clades. Sister taxa within eastern North America and eastern Asia were proportionally equal in frequency, accounting for over 50% of the sister-area connections. At increasing phylogenetic depth, connections to the Old World dominated. Divergence times for 65 clades with intercontinental disjunctions were continuous, whereas 11 intracontinental disjunctions to western North America and nine to eastern Mexico were temporally congruent. CONCLUSIONS: Over one third of the clades have likely undergone speciation within the region of eastern North America. The biogeographic pattern for the region is asymmetric, consisting of mostly mixed-aged, low-diversity clades connecting to the Old World, and a minority of New World clades. Divergence time data suggest that climate change in the Late Miocene to Early Pliocene generated disjunct patterns within North America. Continuous splitting times during the last 45 million years support the hypothesis that widespread distributions formed repeatedly during favorable periods, with serial cooling trends producing pseudocongruent area disjunctions between eastern North America and eastern Asia.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Manos, Paul S, and José Eduardo Meireles (2015). Biogeographic analysis of the woody plants of the Southern Appalachians: Implications for the origins of a regional flora. Am J Bot, 102(5). pp. 780–804. 10.3732/ajb.1400530 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Paul S. Manos

Professor in the Department of Biology

My research emphasizes woody plants, especially the systematics of Fagaceae (the oak family), Juglandaceae (the walnut family), and related wind-pollinated families of flowering plants (Fagales). Our lab uses DNA sequences to generate hypotheses of phylogenetic relationship for inferring morphological character evolution, analyzing patterns of biogeography, and testing species concepts. Students and postdocs have studied the systematics and diversification of the following angiosperm families: Acanthaceae, Nyctaginaceae, Zingiberaceae, Rhamnaceae, Montiaceae, Humiriaceae, Solanaceae, Convolvulaceae, Piperaceae, Ericaceae, and Dilleniaceae. Current research interests involve a range of evolutionary and ecological questions within the Fagaceae. For example, we have reinterpreted cupule evolution in the Fagaceae and calibrated the phylogeny for the American clades of Quercus. Ongoing collaborations with Andrew Hipp, John McVay, Andy Crowl, Antonio González-Rodríguez, and Jeannine Cavender-Bares seek to integrate phylogenetic data with phenotypic traits and functional genes to explain species distributions and to better understand the adaptive nature of introgression in the oaks. Other research interests include the phylogeography of eastern North American woody plants, and patterns of speciation via polyploidy in the true blueberries, Vaccinium section Cyanococcus (with Andy Crowl, Hamid Ashrafi, and Peter Fritsch).

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.