Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

The family Herbertaceae and its novel systematic position within liverworts

Aino JuslÚn

Doctoral dissertation, November 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Finnish Museum of Natural History, Botanical Museum; Finnish Environment Institute, Research Programme for Biodiversity.

Taxonomic relationships of the liverwort genus Herbertus in Asia were examined. In addition, the phylogeny of the family Herbertaceae and its close relatives was investigated and analyses conducted of higher level relationships within the entire liverwort phylum.

Species of Herbertus show great plasticity in various morphological characters, resulted in a large number of described species. This study was the first comprehensive revision of Asian Herbertus, with 12 species recognized for the continent. Eleven names were reduced to synonymy under earlier described species, and one species was excluded from the genus. Herbertus buchii JuslÚn was described as a new species.

Phylogenetic analyses based on both molecular and morphological characters resolved the families Vetaformaceae, Lepicoleaceae, and Herbertaceae (including Mastigophoraceae) as a monophyletic entity. This clade is among the most derived groups within the leafy liverworts and comprises mostly isophyllous plants, all of which have bracteolar antheridia. The relationships of Mastigophoraceae have formerly been controversial. My results confirm the view that this family is closely related to Herbertaceae, Lepicoleaceae, and Vetaformaceae. In the proposed new classification Mastigophoraceae is included in Herbertaceae.

Phylogenetic relationships within the liverworts were reconstructed using both chloroplast and nuclear sequences as well as morphological characters. These analyses were the most comprehensive to date at the time of publication. Previously it was believed that liverworts had a common ancestor with an erect, radial gametophyte and a tetrahedral apical cell. The leafy liverworts were arranged based on the assumption that similar structures had repeatedly developed in many different suborders, with evolution proceeding from erect and isophyllous to creeping and anisophyllous plants. The complex thalloid liverworts were assumed to be the most derived group. By contrast, our studies resolved a clade comprising Treubia and Haplomitrium as the earliest extant liverwort lineage. According to our results the complex thalloids are also an early diverging lineage, and the simple thalloids, traditionally classified together, are a paraphyletic group. Within leafy liverworts, the hypothesis of repeated evolution from isophyllous to anisophyllous plants based on the assumption of a basal unresolved polytomy was rejected. Fundamentally, the leafy liverworts can be divided into three groups. In conflict with the earlier hypotheses, the isophyllous liverworts, including Herbertaceae, were resolved as derived lineages within the liverworts.

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Last updated 03.11.2006

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