We reconstruct here the spatial and temporal evolution of the Campanula alliance in order to better understand its evolutionary history. To increase phylogenetic resolution among major groups (Wahlenbergieae-Campanuleae), new sequences from the rbcL region were added to the trnL-F dataset obtained in a previous study. These phylogenies were used to infer ancestral areas and divergence times in Campanula and related genera using a Bayesian approach to molecular dating and dispersal-vicariance analyses that takes into account phylogenetic uncertainty. The new phylogenetic analysis confirms Platycodoneae as the sister group of Wahlenbergieae-Campanuleae, the two last ones inter-graded into a well-supported clade. Biogeographic and dating analyses suggest that Western Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean have played a major role as centers of migration and diversification within the Campanula alliance, probably in relation to the intense orogenic activity that took place in this region during the Late Neogene, and that could have promoted isolation and allopatric speciation within lineages. Diversification rates within several Campanula lineages would have increased at the end of the Miocene, coinciding with the Messinian Stage. Strong selective pressures from climate changes and the expansion of mountainous regions during this period are suggested to explain the adaptation to drought, cold or disturbed environments observed in many Campanula species. Several independent long-distance dispersal events to North America are inferred within the Rapunculus clade, which seem to be related to high ploidy levels. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Molecular dating