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Osmunda pulchella sp. nov. from the Jurassic of Sweden--reconciling molecular and fossil evidence in the phylogeny of modern royal ferns (Osmundaceae)
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6723-239X
2015 (English)In: BMC Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1471-2148, E-ISSN 1471-2148, Vol. 15, no 126, 1-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The classification of royal ferns (Osmundaceae) has long remained controversial. Recent molecular phylogenies indicate that Osmunda is paraphyletic and needs to be separated into Osmundastrum and Osmunda s.str. Here, however, we describe an exquisitely preserved Jurassic Osmunda rhizome (O. pulchella sp. nov.) that combines diagnostic features of both Osmundastrum and Osmunda, calling molecular evidence for paraphyly into question. We assembled a new morphological matrix based on rhizome anatomy, and used network analyses to establish phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant members of modern Osmundaceae. We re-analysed the original molecular data to evaluate root-placement support. Finally, we integrated morphological and molecular data-sets using the evolutionary placement algorithm.

Results: Osmunda pulchella and five additional Jurassic rhizome species show anatomical character suites intermediate between Osmundastrum and Osmunda. Molecular evidence for paraphyly is ambiguous: a previously unrecognized signal from spacer sequences favours an alternative root placement that would resolve Osmunda s.l. as monophyletic. Our evolutionary placement analysis identifies fossil species as probable ancestral members of modern genera and subgenera, which accords with recent evidence from Bayesian dating.

Conclusions: Osmunda pulchella is likely a precursor of the Osmundastrum lineage. The recently proposed root placement in Osmundaceae—based solely on molecular data—stems from possibly misinformative outgroup signals in rbcL and atpA genes. We conclude that the seemingly conflicting evidence from morphological, anatomical, molecular, and palaeontological data can instead be elegantly reconciled under the assumption that Osmunda is indeed monophyletic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2015. Vol. 15, no 126, 1-25 p.
Keyword [en]
Calcification, Evolutionary placement, Fern evolution, Organelle preservation, Osmundales, Osmundastrum, Outgroup, Paraphyly, Permineralization, Phylogenetic networks
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Diversity of life
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1349DOI: DOI 10.1186/s12862-015-0400-7OAI: diva2:862077
Exceptional permineralized biotas - windows into the evolution and functional diversity of terrestrial ecosystems through time
Swedish Research Council, VR 2014-5234
Available from: 2015-07-31 Created: 2015-10-20 Last updated: 2015-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Bomfleur, BenjaminGrimm, GuidoMcLoughlin, Stephen
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