[Taxacom] Shorter trans-oceanic dispersal of Nothofagus

Lyn.Craven at csiro.au Lyn.Craven at csiro.au
Wed Jul 28 00:06:13 CDT 2010

Dear all

I cannot understand the attachment people have to long-distance dispersal of plants being only effected through floating in sea water  (and I am not having a shot at you, Ken, as this seems to be a very common belief).

We are only considering the need to have one successful dispersal event, after which  the typical local means of dispersal, speciation, etc can kick in.    One event in 5 million, 1 million, whatever would be sufficient.  Incidental ingestion by, or adhesion to, birds could account for the spread of many small-seeded plants.  And wind dispersed diaspores are even more likely to result in a lineage scooting across a large oceanic "barrier".

Nothofagus may well be a special case, assuming its symbionts are unique to that genus (is this proven??).   But how is the present distribution of a host of other plants explained (Epilobium, Anemone, Metrosideros, Heliotropium, Syzygium, Rhododendron sect. Vireya, etc)?     They did not all get to where they are now through sitting on a rafting patch of crust.

We must keep in mind the probability that there is no single explanation for present plant distributions.


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