Gonzalo Nieto Feliner
  • Research Professor
  • Speciality:

    Angiosperm phylogeny and phylogeography. Natural hybridisation and its effects on Evolution.

  • Line of research: Plant evolutionary biology
  • Professional profile

    My scientific background is organismic Biology and more precisely Systematics. However, instigated by various stimuli (concern on epistemological issues, discovery of Cladistics, among others), back at the beginning of the 90s I moved on to enlarge my views and interests on various fronts.

    My scientific interests have been mostly focused at the interface between macro- and microevolution, thus around the realm of speciation. Specifically, I have been always looking for patterns (i.e., traces) left by the evolutionary process that help to identify species (or whatever), reveal natural groups of organisms, and infer relationships among them.

    My current research interests can be reasonably covered by the following topics:

    • Effects of reticulation in phylogeny reconstruction
    • Phylogeny of angiosperm groups using morphological and molecular data
    • Biogeography (and specifically, phylogeography) of plant groups in the Mediterranean region
    • Cladistic methodology in general

    However, because reductionism is not my strength and my limitations are many, I prefer to look for sound answers to modest (in the sense of spatiotemporally very limited) questions, rather than to keep browsing around universal key scientific riddles. Along this line, the kind of questions I normally seek to answer are:

    • What is the relation between high diversity (in terms of morphologically and ecologically distinguishable entities) and extensive hybridization in an angiosperm genus like Armeria (Plumbaginaceae)?
    • Can we spot the good (or bad) morphological characters (i.e., those conveying phylogenetic signal for reconstructing organismic phylogenies) by congruence with one or more molecular data sets?
    • The occurrence of a Pyrenean endemic (Arenaria tetraquetra, Caryophyllaceae) on a very isolated central Spanish range: is it a trace left by quaternary glaciations?
    • Is there a biogeographical pattern at all in a disturbed region like the Western Mediterranean that we may seek to discover by conducting phylogeographic studies in angiosperm groups? Or, at least, is there a pattern on a more reduced geographical scale, i.e., within the Iberian massifs?
    • How come a molecular data set that has been shaped by disturbing phenomena like extensive hybridization and selective homogenization can reveal a reasonably strong phylogenetic signal?
    Selected Publications
  • Cerón-Souza, I.; Barreto M.B.; Barreto-Pittol E.; Silva, A.; Feliner, G.N.; Medina, E. 2021. Rhizophora zonation, salinity, and nutrients in the western atlantic. Biotropica 53(2):384-396. 

  • Criado Ruiz, D.; Villa Machío, I.; Herrero Nieto, A.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2021. Hybridization and cryptic speciation in the Iberian endemic plant genus Phalacrocarpum (Asteraceae-Anthemideae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 156:107024. 

  • Nieto Feliner, G. 2021. International Botanical Congress News. Taxon 70(4):913. 

  • Shamsabad, M.M.; Moharrek, F.; Assadi, M.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2021. Biogeographic history and diversification patterns in the Irano-Turanian genus Acanthophyllum s.l. (Caryophyllaceae). Plant Biosystems 155(3):425-435. 

  • Escudero, M.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Pokorny, L.; Spalink, D.; Viruel, J. 2020. Editorial: Phylogenomic Approaches to Deal With Particularly Challenging Plant Lineages. Frontiers in Plant Science 11:591762. 

  • Nieto Feliner, G.; Casacuberta, J.; Wendel, J.F. 2020. Genomics of Evolutionary Novelty in Hybrids and Polyploids. Frontiers in Genetics 11:792. 

  • Villa-Machío, I.; Fernández de Castro, A.G.; Fuertes-Aguilar, J.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2020. Colonization history of the Canary Islands endemic Lavatera acerifolia, (Malvaceae) unveiled with genotyping-by-sequencing data and niche modelling. Journal of Biogeography 47(4):993-1005. 

  • Viruel, J.; Le Galliot, N.; Pironon, S.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Suc, J.-P.; Lakhal-Mirleau, F.; Juin, M.; Selva, M.; Bou Dagher Kharrat, M.; Ouahmane, L.; La Malfa, S.; Diadema, K.; Sanguin, H.; Médail, F.; Baumel, A. 2020. A strong east-west Mediterranean divergence supports a new phylogeographic history of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua, Leguminosae) and multiple domestications from native populations. Journal of Biogeography 47(2):460-471. 

  • Vitales, D.; Álvarez, I.; Garcia, S.; Hidalgo, O.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Pellicer, J.; Vallès, J.; Garnatje, T. 2020. Genome size variation at constant chromosome number is not correlated with repetitive DNA dynamism in Anacyclus (Asteraceae). Annals of Botany 125(4):611-623. 

  • Moharrek, F.; Sanmartin, I.; Kazempour-Osaloo, S.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2019. Morphological Innovations and Vast Extensions of Mountain Habitats Triggered Rapid Diversification Within the Species-Rich Irano-Turanian Genus Acantholimon (Plumbaginaceae). Frontiers in Genetics 9:698. 

  • Nieto Feliner, G. 2019. Phalacrocarpum (DC) Willk. In: C. Benedi, A. Buira, E. Rico, M.B. Crespo, A. Quintanar & C. Aedo (eds.). Flora Ibérica vol. XVI (III). Compositae (partim). Editorial CSIC. pp. 1932-1938

  • Nieto Feliner, G.; Rosato, M.; Alegre, G.; San Segundo, P.; Rosselló, J.A.; Garnatje, T.; Garcia, S. 2019. Dissimilar molecular and morphological patterns in an introgressed peripheral population of a sand dune species (Armeria pungens, Plumbaginaceae). Plant Biology 21(6):1072-1082. 

  • Rosato, M.; Álvarez, I.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Rosselló, J.A. 2018. Inter-and intraspecific hypervariability in interstitial telomeric-like repeats (TTTAGGG) n in Anacyclus (Asteraceae). Annals of Botany 122(3):387-395. 

  • Villa-Machío, I.; Fernández de Castro, A.G.; Fuertes-Aguilar, J.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2018. Out of North Africa by different routes: phylogeography and species distribution model of the western Mediterranean Lavatera maritima (Malvaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 187(3):441-455. 

  • Viruel, J.; Haguenauer, A.; Juin, M.; Mirleau, F.; Bouteiller, D.; Boudagher-Kharrat, M.; Ouahmane, L.; La Malfa, S.; Médail, F.; Sanguin, H.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Baumel, A. 2018. Advances in genotyping microsatellite markers through sequencing and consequences of scoring methods for Ceratonia siliqua (Leguminosae). Applications in Plant Sciences 6(12):e01201. 

  • Vitales, D.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Vallès, J.; Garnatje, T.; Firat, M.; Álvarez, I. 2018. A new circumscription of the Mediterranean genus Anacyclus (Anthemideae, Asteraceae) based on plastid and nuclear DNA markers. Phytotaxa 349(1):1-17. 

  • Marques, I.; Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Martins-Louçao, M.A.; Moharrek, F.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2017. A three-genome five-gene comprehensive phylogeny of the bulbous genus Narcissus (Amaryllidaceae) challenges current classifications and reveals multiple hybridization events. Taxon 66(4):832-854.

  • Moharrek, F.; Kazempour-Osaloo, S.; Assadi, M.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2017. Molecular phylogenetic evidence for a wide circumscription of a characteristic Irano-Turanian element: Acantholimon (Plumbaginaceae-Limonioideae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 184(3): 366-386. 

  • Nieto Feliner, G.; Álvarez, I.; Fuertes-Aguilar, J.; Heuertz, M.; Marques, I.; Moharrek, F.; Piñeiro, R.; Riina, R.; Rosselló, J.A.; Soltis, P.S.; Villa-Machío, I. 2017. Is homoploid hybrid speciation that rare? An empiricist’s view. Heredity 118:513-516. 

  • Rosato, M.; Álvarez, I.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Rosselló, J.A. 2017. High and uneven levels of 45S rDNA site-number variation across wild populations of a diploid plant genus (Anacyclus, Asteraceae). PLoS ONE. 12(10):e0187131.

  • Marques, I.; Jürgens, A.; Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2016. Convergent recruitment of new pollinators is triggered by independent hybridization events in Narcissus. New Phytologist 210(2): 731-742. 

  • Ceron-Souza, I.; Turner, B.L.; Winter, K.; Medina, E.; Bermingham, E.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2014. Reproductive phenology and physiological traits in the red mangrove hybrid complex Rhizophora mangle and R. racemosa) across a natural gradient of nutrients and salinity. Plant Ecology 215: 481-493. (DOI 10.1007/s11258-014-0315-1)   

  • Nieto Feliner, G. 2014. Patterns and processes in plant phylogeography in the Mediterranean Basin. A review, Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 16:  265-278 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2014.07.002).

  • García-Fernández, A.; Iriondo, J.M.; Escudero, A.; Aguilar, J.F.; Feliner, G.N. 2013. Genetic patterns of habitat fragmentation and past climate-change effects in the Mediterranean high-mountain plant Armeria caespitosa (Plumbaginaceae). American Journal of Botany 100:1641-1650, doi:10.3732/ajb.1200653.
  • Marques, I.; Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Martins-Loução, A.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2012. Spatial-temporal patterns of flowering asynchrony and pollinator fidelity in hybridizing species of Narcissus. Evolutionary Ecology 26:1433-1450.


  • Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Gutiérrez Larena, B.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2011. Genetic and morphological diversity in Armeria (Plumbaginaceae) shaped by glacial cycles in southern Mediterranean refugia (Sierra Nevada, Spain). Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 68: 175-197.

  • Marques, I.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Martins-Loução, A.; Fuertes Aguilar, J. 2011. Fitness in Narcissus hybrids: low fertility is overcome by early hybrid vigor, absence of exogenous selection and high bulb propagation. Journal of Ecology  99: 1508-1519

  • Marques, I.; Nieto Feliner, G.; Draper, D.; Martins-Loução, A.; Fuertes Aguilar, J. 2010. Unraveling cryptic reticulate relationships and the origin of orphan hybrid disjunct populations in Narcissus. Evolution 64: 2353–2368.

  • Feliner, G.N.; Rosselló, J.A. 2007. Better the devil you know? Guidelines for insightful utilization of nrDNA ITS in species-level evolutionary studies in plants. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 44 (2), 911-919.

  • Piñeiro, R.; Aguilar, J.F.; Munt, D.D.; Feliner, G.N. (2007). Ecology matters: Atlantic-mediterranean disjunction in the sand-dune shrub Armeria pungens (Plumbaginaceae). Molecular Ecology, 16 (10), 2155-2171.

  • Nieto Feliner, G.; Gutiérrez Larena, B.; Fuertes Aguilar, J. (2004). Fine scale geographical structure, intra-individual polymorphism and recombination in nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers in Armeria (Plumbaginaceae). Annals of Botany 93: 189-200.

  • Gutiérrez Larena, B.; Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Nieto Feliner, G. 2002. Glacial-induced altitudinal migrations in Armeria (Plumbaginaceae) inferred from patterns of cpDNA haplotype sharing. Molecular Ecology 11: 1965-1974.

  • Nieto Feliner, G.; Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Rosselló, J.A.(2001). Can extensive reticulation and concerted evolution result in a cladistically structured molecular data set? Cladistics 17(4): 301-312. 

  • Fuertes Aguilar, J.; Rosselló, J.A.; Nieto Feliner, G. 1999. Molecular evidence for the compilospecies model of reticulate evolution in Armeria (Plumbaginaceae). Systematic Biology 48: 735-754. 

  • More Publications
    Real Jardín Botánico
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