Patterns in the genetic structure of 49 lowland rain forest tree species co-distributed on opposite sides of the northern Andes

Jordan B. Bemmels, Álvaro Pérez, Renato Valencia, Christopher W. Dick

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva


The Andes are a major dispersal barrier for lowland rain forest plants and animals, yet hundreds of lowland tree species are distributed on both sides of the northern Andes, raising questions about how the Andes influenced their biogeographic histories and population genetic structure. To explore these questions, we generated standardized datasets of thousands of SNPs from paired populations of 49 tree species co-distributed in rain forest tree communities located in Panama and Amazonian Ecuador and calculated genetic diversity (π) and absolute genetic divergence (dXY) within and between populations, respectively. We predicted (1) higher genetic diversity in the ancestral source region (east or west of the Andes) for each taxon and (2) correlation of genetic statistics with species attributes, including elevational range and life-history strategy. We found that genetic diversity was higher in putative ancestral source regions, possibly reflecting founder events during colonization. We found little support for a relationship between genetic divergence and species attributes except that species with higher elevational range limits exhibited higher dXY, implying older divergence times. One possible explanation for this pattern is that dispersal through mountain passes declined in importance relative to dispersal via alternative lowland routes as the Andes experienced uplift. We found no difference in mean genetic diversity between populations in Central America and the Amazon. Overall, our results suggest that dispersal across the Andes has left enduring signatures in the genetic structure of widespread rain forest trees. We outline additional hypotheses to be tested with species-specific case studies.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe13303
EstadoPublicada - 22 feb. 2024

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© 2024 The Authors. Biotropica published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.


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