The colonization history in the Galapagos islands by plants
Coordinator - Pablo Vargas
Programme - Plan Nacional 2012 - Spain
Execution dates - 2012-10-01 - 2015-10-01 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - Gobierto de España
Total Funding - 183 000 €
Proponent Institution - Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, CSIC
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Coimbra (CEF-UC)
Institud Medeterrani d'Estudis Avançats (CSIC-UIB)
University of Aarhus
Island Ecology and Evolution reserach Group (CSIC-IPNA)

In a recent study, it was proposed a new perspective to address questions of what plants and what dispersal modes have been favored for the colonization of remote archipelagos such as the Galápagos islands (Vargas et al. 2011). Phylogenetic, phylogeographic, genetic diversity and palaeobotanical data can help to understand the number of plants bearing particular dispersal characteristics that have been more successful . A total of 509 species currently recognized from 372 colonization events were inferred for the native flora using floristic check-lists. native colonists were grouped into five categories of long-distance dispersal syndromes: endozoochory 16.4%, epizoochory 15.7%, hydrochory 18.6%, anemochory 13.3%, and unassisted diaspores 36.0%. Once the plants arrived to the archipelago, inter-island dispersal and establishment took place in contrasting spatio-temporal  patterns. data obtained in a previous study carried out by our research team revealed contrasting contribution of biotic agents (birds, iguanas, lizards, tortoises) and then actual dispersal modes will be considered to study in detail particular study cases (Heleno et al., unpublished; Nogales et al., unpublished). In this study we propose to reconstruct the major  inter-island plant colonization the Galápagos archipelago. In particular, we aim to address the following objectives: (1) to characterize long-distance dispersal syndromes for each of the 509 native species; (2) to describe general patterns of colonization  that explain the geographical distribution of the flora of the Galápagos islands; (3) to evaluate gene flow between islands for a group of native and introduced species using a phylogeographic approach; and (4) to assess the particular contribution of birds in the maternal (seed) and paternal (pollen)  gene flow as revealed by molecular markers of particular species.


Members on this project