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Abstract Detail

Colloquium in Honor of John McNeill

Rabeler, Richard [1], Wagner, Warren [2].

Caryophyllaceae: 50 years since McNeill (1962).

Those who study the Caryophyllaceae very likely know of John McNeill and have benefited from his work. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Taxonomic studies in the Alsinoideae. I. Generic and infra-generic groups", the paper that still stands as a primary source of information about the subfamily, especially for the seven genera of what he called the "Arenaria complex of genera". We present a conspectus of what was known about phylogeny of the Caryophyllaceae in 1962, a summary of John's contributions to our knowledge of the family since 1962, and show how recent molecular work has confirmed several of John's insights (e.g., noting a possible relationship between Minuartia subg. Rhodalsine and Spergularia, the former resembled the latter except for lacking stipules) as well as how these studies are casting a very different light on how Arenaria and Minuartia should be defined. As is the case with most of the large genera in the family, Arenaria and Minuartia are polyphyletic. With ca. 60 species sampled, representing eight of the 10 subgenera of Arenaria recognized by McNeill, four subgenera are now more appropriately treated as genera (Odontostemma, Eremogone + Eremogoneastrum, and Porphyrantha); results for a fifth, subg.Dolophragma, are ambiguous. Relationships among taxa in the 12 sections within subg. Arenaria also need additional investigation; the subgenus is not monophyletic. The situation in Minuartia, is both more complex and less resolved; 22 of the ca. 175 species have been sampled and, in the most recent study, they appear in seven different clades that would be placed in four different tribes. Three of the subgenera are clearly not related to subg. Minuartia and, as in Arenaria, likely should be treated as genera (Rhodalsine, Phlebanthia, and Triplateia). Subgenus Minuartia itself is polyphyletic. With eight of the 12 sections of subg. Minuartia recognized by McNeill now sampled, four distinct clusters emerge; two are North American and two are Eurasian-Holarctic. Unfortunately, we don't know if any of these really represent Minuartia; we still lack any samples from sect. Minuartia (ca. 50 chiefly Mediterranean species).

Broader Impacts:

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1 - The University of Michigan, Herbarium, 3600 Varsity Dr., Ann Arbor, MI, 48108-2228, USA
2 - Smithsonian Institution, Botany, MRC-166 National Museum Of Natural History, PO Box 37012, WASHINGTON, DC, 20013-7012, USA, 202/633-0968


Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C3
Location: Delaware D/Hyatt
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 4:15 PM
Number: C3009
Abstract ID:809

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