Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 382453, 10 pages
Research Article

Diversification in Monkeyflowers: An Investigation of the Effects of Elevation and Floral Color in the Genus Mimulus

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4

Received 14 August 2013; Revised 16 November 2013; Accepted 20 November 2013; Published 5 January 2014

Academic Editor: Hirohisa Kishino

Copyright © 2014 Ezgi Ogutcen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The vast diversity of floral colours in many flowering plant families, paired with the observation of preferences among pollinators, suggests that floral colour may be involved in the process of speciation in flowering plants. While transitions in floral colour have been examined in numerous genera, we have very little information on the consequences of floral colour transitions to the evolutionary success of a clade. Overlaid upon these patterns is the possibility that certain floral colours are more prevalent in certain environments, with the causes of differential diversification being more directly determined by geographical distribution. Here we examine transition rates to anthocyanin + carotenoid rich (red/orange/fuschia) flowers and examine whether red/orange flowers are associated with differences in speciation and/or extinction rates in Mimulus. Because it has been suggested that reddish flowers are more prevalent at high elevation, we also examine the macroevolutionary evidence for this association and determine if there is evidence for differential diversification at high elevations. We find that, while red/orange clades have equivalent speciation rates, the trait state of reddish flowers reverts more rapidly to the nonreddish trait state. Moreover, there is evidence for high speciation rates at high elevation and no evidence for transition rates in floral colour to differ depending on elevation.