The Sino-Himalayan flora evolved from lowland biomes dominated by tropical floristic elements


  作  者:Liu Y#, Lai YJ#, Ye JF, Hu HH, Peng DX, Lu LM, Sun H, Chen ZD*


  刊物名称:BMC Biology


  卷:21 期:1 页码:239



  The Sino-Himalayan flora harbors highly diverse high-elevation biotas, but our understanding of its evolutionary history in temporal and spatial dimensions is limited. In this study, we integrated a dated phylogenetic tree with comprehensive species distribution data to investigate changes over time and space in floristic elements, including the tropical, Tethys, northern temperate, and East Asian floristic elements, across the entire Sino-Himalaya and its three floristic regions: the Yunnan Plateau, Hengduan Mountains, and East Himalaya regions.


  Our results revealed that the Sino-Himalayan flora developed from lowland biomes and was predominantly characterized by tropical floristic elements before the collision between the Indian subcontinent and Eurasia during the Early Cenozoic. Subsequently, from the Late Eocene onwards, the uplifts of the Himalaya and Hengduan Mountains transformed the Sino-Himalayan region into a wet and cold plateau, on which harsh and diverse ecological conditions forced the rapid evolution of local angiosperms, giving birth to characteristic taxa adapted to the high altitudes and cold habitat. The percentage of temperate floristic elements increased and exceeded that of tropical floristic elements by the Late Miocene.


  The Sino-Himalayan flora underwent four significant formation periods and experienced a considerable increase in endemic genera and species in the Miocene, which remain crucial to the present-day patterns of plant diversity. Our findings support the view that the Sino-Himalayan flora is relatively young but has ancient origins. The three major shifts in the divergence of genera and species during the four formation periods were primarily influenced by the uplifts of the Himalaya and Hengduan Mountains and the onset and intensification of the Asian monsoon system. Additionally, the temporal patterns of floristic elements differed among the three floristic regions of the Sino-Himalaya, indicating that the uplift of the Himalaya and surrounding areas was asynchronous. Compared to the Yunnan Plateau region, the East Himalaya and Hengduan Mountains experienced more recent and drastic uplifts, resulting in highly intricate topography with diverse habitats that promoted the rapid radiation of endemic genera and species in these regions.





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