Global distribution and evolutionary transitions of angiosperm sexual systems
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEcology Letters. 2021, 24 (9), 1835-1847. 10.1111/ele.13815
Angiosperm sexual systems are fundamental to the evolution and distribution of plant diversity, yet spatiotemporal patterns in angiosperm sexual systems and their drivers remain poorly known. Using data on sexual systems and distributions of 68453 angiosperm species, we present the first global maps of sexual system frequencies and evaluate sexual system evolution during the Cenozoic. Frequencies of dioecy and monoecy increase with latitude, while hermaphrodites are more frequent in warm and arid regions. Transitions to dioecy from other states were higher than to hermaphroditism, but transitions away from dioecy increased since the Cenozoic, suggesting that dioecy is not an evolutionary end point. Transitions between hermaphroditism and dioecy increased, while transitions to monoecy decreased with paleo-temperature when paleo-temperature >0℃. Our study demonstrates the biogeography of angiosperm sexual systems from a macroecological perspective, and enhances our understanding of plant diversity patterns and their response to climate change.