Recent and ancient evolutionary events shaped plant elemental composition of edaphic endemics: a phylogeny-wide analysis of Iberian gypsum plants
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Biogeochemical nicheEdaphic endemicsGypsophileIonomeMultiple phylogenetic variance decomposition (MPVD)Phylogenetic effectsStoichiometryVariance partitioning
Palacio, S... [et al.] (2022), Recent and ancient evolutionary events shaped plant elemental composition of edaphic endemics: a phylogeny-wide analysis of Iberian gypsum plants. New Phytol. [https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.18309]
SponsorshipSpanish Government CGL2015-71360-P PID2019-111159GB-C31; European Commission H2020-MSCA-RISE-777803; Spanish Government BES-2016-076455; PTA contract AEI-CSIC PTA2019-017033-I/AEI/10.13039/501100011033; Ramon y Cajal Fellowship (MICINN) RYC-2013-14164
The analysis of plant elemental composition and the underlying factors affecting its variation are a current hot topic in ecology. Ecological adaptation to atypical soils may shift plant elemental composition. However, no previous studies have evaluated its relevance against other factors such as phylogeny, climate or individual soil conditions. We evaluated the effect of the phylogeny, environment (climate, soil), and affinity to gypsum soils on the elemental composition of 83 taxa typical of Iberian gypsum ecosystems. We used a new statistical procedure (multiple phylogenetic variance decomposition, MPVD) to decompose total explained variance by different factors across all nodes in the phylogenetic tree of target species (covering 120 million years of Angiosperm evolution). Our results highlight the relevance of phylogeny on the elemental composition of plants both at early (with the development of key preadaptive traits) and recent divergence times (diversification of the Iberian gypsum flora concurrent with Iberian gypsum deposit accumulation). Despite the predominant phylogenetic effect, plant adaptation to gypsum soils had a strong impact on the elemental composition of plants, particularly on sulphur concentrations, while climate and soil effects were smaller. Accordingly, we detected a convergent evolution of gypsum specialists from different lineages on increased sulphur and magnesium foliar concentrations.