Phylogeographical pattern and evolutionary history of an important Peninsular Malaysian timber species, Neobalanocarpus heimii (Dipterocarpaceae)
Tnah, L.H.; Lee, S.L.; Ng, K.K.S.; Lee, C.T.; Bhassu, S.; Othman, R.Y.
Journal of Heredity 104(1): 115-126
ISSN/ISBN: 1465-7333 PMID: 23132907 DOI: 10.1093/jhered/ess076
Tectonic movements, climatic oscillations, and marine transgressions during the Cenozoic have had a dramatic effect on the biota of the tropical rain forest. This study aims to reveal the phylogeography and evolutionary history of a Peninsular Malaysian endemic tropical timber species, Neobalanocarpus heimii (Dipterocarpaceae). A total of 32 natural populations of N. heimii, with 8 samples from each population were investigated. Fifteen haplotypes were identified from five noncoding chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) regions. Overall, two major genealogical cpDNA lineages of N. heimii were elucidated: a widespread southern and a northern region. The species is predicted to have survived in multiple refugia during climatic oscillations: the northwestern region (R1), the northeastern region (R2), and the southern region (R3). These putative glacial refugia exhibited higher levels of genetic diversity, population differentiation, and the presence of unique haplotypes. Recolonization of refugia R1 and R2 could have first expanded into the northern region and migrated both northeastwards and northwestwards. Meanwhile, recolonization of N. heimii throughout the southern region could have commenced from refugia R3 and migrated toward the northeast and northwest, respectively. The populations of Tersang, Pasir Raja, and Rotan Tunggal exhibited remarkably high haplotype diversity, which could have been the contact zones that have received an admixture of gene pools from the northerly and also southerly regions. As a whole, the populations of N. heimii derived from glacial refugia and contact zones should be considered in the conservation strategies in order to safeguard the long-term survival of the species.