Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

As old as the hills: Pliocene palaeogeographical processes influence patterns of genetic structure in the widespread, common shrub Banksia sessilis

Nistelberger, H.M., Tapper, S‐L, Coates, D.J., McArthur, S.L. and Byrne, M. (2021) As old as the hills: Pliocene palaeogeographical processes influence patterns of genetic structure in the widespread, common shrub Banksia sessilis. Ecology and Evolution, 11 (2). pp. 1069-1082.

PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB) | Preview
Free to read:
*No subscription required


The impact of Quaternary glaciation on the development of phylogeographic structure in plant species is well documented. In unglaciated landscapes, phylogeographic patterns tend to reflect processes relating to persistence and stochasticity, yet other factors, associated with the palaeogeographical history of the landscape, including geomorphological events, can also have a significant influence. The unglaciated landscape of south‐western Western Australia is an ideal location to observe these ancient drivers of lineage diversification, with tectonic activity associated with the Darling Fault in the late Pliocene attributed to patterns of deep phylogeographic divergence in a widespread tree from this region. Interestingly, other species within this region have not shown this pattern and this palaeogeographical boundary therefore presents an opportunity to examine age and historical distribution of plant species endemic to this region. In this study, we assess patterns of genetic diversity and structure across 28 populations of the widespread shrub Banksia sessilis using three cpDNA markers and nine nuclear microsatellite markers. Sixteen cpDNA haplotypes were identified, comprising two major chloroplast DNA lineages that are estimated to have diverged in the Pliocene, approximately 3.3 million years ago. This timing coincides with major geomorphological processes in the landscape, including the separation of the Darling Plateau from the adjacent Swan Coastal Plain, as well as eustatic changes on the Swan Coastal Plain that are likely to have resulted in the physical isolation of historical plant lineages. Chloroplast lineages were broadly aligned with populations associated with older lateritic soils of the Darling Plateau and Geraldton sandplains or the younger sandy soils associated with the Swan Coastal Plain and Southern Coastline. This structural pattern of lateritic versus non‐lateritic division was not observed in the nuclear microsatellite data that identified three genetic clades that roughly corresponded to populations in the North, South, and Central portions of the distributions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2020 The Authors.
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year