Molecular phylogenetics of hydatellaceae (Nymphaeales): Sexual-system homoplasy and a new sectional classification

William J.D. Iles, Paula J. Rudall, Dmitry D. Sokoloff, Margarita V. Remizowa, Terry D. Macfarlane, Maria D. Logacheva, Sean W. Graham

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Premise of the study: Species relationships are unknown in Hydatellaceae, a small family of dwarf aquatics related to water lilies that arose near the base of angiosperm phylogeny. Here we use molecular evidence to infer a species tree for the family and apply this to reconstructing major transitions in morphology and sexual system in this early branch of angiosperms. • Methods: We assembled plastid (atpB, matK, ndhF, rbcL) and nuclear (ribosomal ITS) data for 50 samples (including outgroups) and estimated a species tree for Hydatellaceae using a Bayesian multispecies coalescent approach. We reconstructed the evolution of several morphological characters, then tested for associations between sexual system and reproductive morphology using phylogenetic ANOVA. Key results Dioecious species of Hydatellaceae have significantly greater stamen number and anther length than do cosexual species, suggesting changes in male function. The perennial habit that defines one subclade likely represents a reversion from annuality. Species relationships do not fall along traditional morphological divisions, but new sections proposed here are supported by fruit and seed synapomorphies. The earliest split in the family is refl ected in geography and climate (i.e., tropical vs. subtropical/temperate clades). We found limited evidence of incongruence between plastid and nuclear trees, with one exception involving gene-tree nonmonophyly for two close relatives (Trithuria submersa, T. bibracteata). • Conclusions: While the direction of sexual-system evolution is ambiguous, transitions are significantly associated with changes in involucral phyllome length and proxies of pollen production. We propose a new sectional circumscription based on fruit, seed, and DNA evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-676
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ancestral-state reconstruction
  • Classification
  • Dioecy
  • Fruit
  • Gene-tree reconciliation
  • Morphology
  • Perenniality
  • Seed
  • Sexual system
  • Trithuria


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