The largest natural feature on Earth is the Pacific Ocean, which covers over one-third of our planet’s surface. Despite its extent, the historical biogeography of many lineages – of both terrestrial and marine ocean habitats – remains poorly investigated. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS and designated as an Editor’s Choice, Cantley et al. reconstructed the previously unknown historical biogeography of Coprosma (Rubiaceae), which is one of the largest (>110 species) and most widespread flowering plant genera distributed across the Pacific. A New Zealand origin of Coprosma was inferred at approximately 25 million years ago (Ma), but most of the distribution was achieved 6 Ma, likely by frugivorous birds. Over 30 dispersal events are inferred and >8 locations were colonized more than once, which is perhaps more than any Pacific-centered genus investigated to date.
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