Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Plant biodiversity drivers in Brazilian campos rupestres: insights from phylogenetic structure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Daniela C. Zappi, Marcelo Freire Moro, Thomas R. Meagher, Eimear Nic Lughadha

School/Research organisations


Old, climate-buffered infertile landscapes (Ocbils) have attracted increasing levels of interest in recent years because of their exceptionally diverse plant communities. Brazil’s campos rupestres (rupestrian grasslands) are home to almost 15% of Brazil’s native flora in less than 0.8% of Brazil’s territory: an ideal study system for exploring variation in floristic diversity and phylogenetic structure in sites differing in geology and phytophysiognomy. We found significant differences in floristic diversity and phylogenetic structure across a range of study sites encompassing open vegetation and forest on quartzite and on ironstone substrates, commonly termed canga. Substrate was key in structuring floristic diversity with physiognomy having a secondary effect. In contrast physiognomy was more important than substrate in structuring phylogenetic diversity, with neither substrate nor its interaction with physiognomy accounting for significant variation in phylogenetic structure. Phylogenetic clustering was significant in open vegetation on both canga and quartzite, reflecting the potential role of environmental filtering in these exposed montane communities adapted to multiple environmental stressors. In forest communities, phylogenetic clustering was significant only at relatively deep nodes of the phylogeny in forest on quartzite while no significant phylogenetic clustering was detected across forest on canga, which may be attributable to proximity to the megadiverse Atlantic forest biome and/or comparatively benign environmental conditions in forest on canga with relatively deep, nutrient-rich soils and access to edaphic water reliable in comparison to those for open vegetation on canga and open or forest communities on quartzite. Clades representing relatively old lineages are significantly over-represented in campos rupestres on quartzite, consistent with the Gondwanan Heritage Hypothesis of Ocbil theory. In contrast, forested sites on canga are recognized as Yodfels. To be effective, conservation measures must take account of the distinct communities which are encompassed within the broad term campos rupestres, and the differing vulnerabilities of Ocbils and Yodfels.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2141
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Early online date19 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • Campos rupestres, Canga, Eastern Brazil, Phylogenetic clustering, Rupestrian grasslands, Substrate, Vegetation types

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Design, delivery and evaluation of a bioinformatics education workshop for 13-16-year-olds

    Bain, S., Meagher, T. R. & Barker, D., 26 Dec 2020, In: Journal of Biological Education. Latest Articles, 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Plotting a future for Amazonian canga vegetation in a campo rupestre context

    Zappi, D. C., Moro, M. F., Walker, B., Meagher, T., Viana, P. L., Mota, N. F. O., Watanabe, M. T. C. & Nic Lughadha, E., 5 Aug 2019, In: PLoS ONE. 14, 8, 19 p., e0219753.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Synthesis centers as critical research infrastructure

    Baron, J., Specht, A., Garnier, E., Bishop, P., Campbell, A., Davis, F., Fady, B., Field, D., Gross, L., Guru, S., Halpern, B., Hampton, S., Leavitt, P., Meagher, T. R., Ometto, J., Parker, J., Price, R., Rawson, C., Rodrigo, A., Sheble, L. & 1 others, Winter, M., Aug 2017, In: Bioscience. 67, 8, p. 750-759 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Best practices for virtual participation in meetings: experiences from synthesis centers

    Hampton, S. E., Halpern, B. S., Winter, M., Balch, J. K., Parker, J. N., Baron, J. S., Palmer, M., Schildhauer, M. P., Bishop, P., Meagher, T. R. & Specht, A., 3 Jan 2017, In: The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 98, 1, p. 57-63 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Extinction risk and threats to plants

    Nic Lughadha, E., Canteiro, C., Bachman, S., Baines, D., Gardiner, L., Meagher, T. R., Rivers, M., Shuiteman, A., Williams, E. & Hargreaves, S., 2017, State of the World's Plants 2017. Willis, K. J. (ed.). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, p. 72-77 6 p. 11

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Related by journal

  1. Frontiers in Plant Science (Journal)

    Jens Tilsner (Guest editor)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Nicotiana benthamiana as a transient expression host to produce auxin analogs

    Davis, K., Gkotsi, D. S., Smith, D. R. M., Goss, R. J. M., Caputi, L. & O’Connor, S. E., 20 Nov 2020, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 11, 9 p., 581675.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Creating contacts between replication and movement at plasmodesmata – a role for membrane contact sites in plant virus infections?

    Levy, A. & Tilsner, J., 3 Jul 2020, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 11, 8 p., 862.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  3. Efficient detection of long dsRNA in vitro and in vivo using the dsRNA binding domain from FHV B2 protein

    Monsion, B., Incarbone, M., Hleibieh, K., Poignavent, V., Ghannam, A., Dunoyer, P., Daeffler, L., Tilsner, J. & Ritzenthaler, C., 1 Feb 2018, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 9, 16 p., 70.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. The Globodera pallida SPRYSEC effector GpSPRY-414-2 that suppresses plant defenses targets a regulatory component of the dynamic microtubule network

    Mei, Y., Wright, K. M., Haegeman, A., Bauters, L., Diaz-Granados, A., Goverse, A., Gheysen, G., Jones, J. T. & Mantelin, S., 12 Jul 2018, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 9, 16 p., 1019.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Association mapping of diastatic power in UK winter and spring barley by exome sequencing of phenotypically contrasting variety sets

    Looseley, M. E., Bayer, M., Bull, H., Ramsay, L., Thomas, W., Booth, A., De La Fuente Canto, C., Morris, J., Hedley, P. E. & Russell, J., 12 Sep 2017, In: Frontiers in Plant Science. 8, 13 p., 1566.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 251802875