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A biogeographic perspective on the evolution of fire syndromes in pine trees (Pinus: Pinaceae)
Our goals were to explore the relationship between biogeography and the evolution of fire-adaptive syndromes in the genus Pinus. We used a previously published time-calibrated phylogeny and conducted ancestral trait reconstruction to estimate the likely timing of diversification in Pinus, and to determine when fire-adaptive syndromes evolved in the lineage. To explore trait conservation among fire syndromes and to investigate historical biogeography
we constructed ancestral state reconstructions using the program RASP and estimated the degree of conservatism for fire-adapted traits in the program BaTS. Our reconstructions suggest that the Bering land bridge, which connected North America and Asia, probably played a major role in early pine evolution. Our estimates indicated that fire-adaptive syndromes seem to have evolved more frequently in New World taxa and probably are related to the uplift of major North American mountain ranges. Our data suggest that certain geographically widespread adaptations to fire evolved repeatedly, possibly due to localized changes in climate and environment, rather than resulting from large dispersal events of pre-adapted individuals.