Genetic diversity hotspots and refugia identified by mapping multi-plant species haplotype diversity in China: supplementary material
Historical processes during the Quaternary are likely to have left a signature on the geographical distribution of intraspecific genetic variation. In particular, high genetic uniqueness could be expected within glacial refugia for multiple species. We aimed to test this for plants in China and whether multi-species hotspots of genetic diversity are good indicators of glacial refugia in this region. From chloroplast DNA haplotype data for 116 species we calculated two local genetic diversity metrics for each species: haplotype genetic richness and genetic uniqueness. From these two, only uniqueness could reliably identify refugia, whereas richness may indicate either glacial refugia or areas recolonized by genetic lineages from different refugia in the postglacial period. Our results suggest the occurrence of numerous cryptic refugia and their likely importance in the maintenance and evolution of the Chinese flora, and indicate that an approach that locates geographic hotspots of genetic diversity data can reliably identify refugia.