Location and topography of the Japanese Archipelago

Biogeographic history and climatic niche evolution of Japanese endemic primroses

Climatic changes and historical orogenies during the Quaternary might have played a significant role in determining the speciation and diversification patterns of primroses in Japan.

Climatic and topographic changes during the Quaternary have driven the development of high biodiversity in mountain areas. However, the effects of niche evolution on the diversification patterns of plant species under rapid habitat changes are still unknown.

Location and topography of the Japanese Archipelago
(A) Location and topography of the Japanese Archipelago. The four main islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, are shown in bold. (B) Altitude-through-time curve for the Japanese mountains (modified after Yonekura N , Kaizuka S , Nogami M , Chinzei K . 2001. Introduction to Japanese geomorphology , 2nd edn. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press).

Yamamoto et al. use biogeographic analysis and macro-evolutionary modeling to examine the diversification history of Primula sect. Reinii (Primulaceae) endemic to the Japanese Archipelago. Heterogeneous climatic niche optima and rates were found in the closely related species. The authors infer that spatiotemporal heterogeneity in the archipelago and climatic niche evolution may play a significant role in the biogeographic history and species’ diversification patterns.


The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Oxford.

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