Latitude, elevational climatic zonation and speciation in New World vertebrates

Cadena, Carlos Daniel, Kozak, Kenneth H., Gómez, Juan Pablo, Parra, Juan Luis, McCain, Christy M., Bowie, Rauri C.K., Carnaval, Ana C., Moritz, Craig, Rahbek, Carsten, Roberts, Trina E., Sanders, Nathan J., Schneider, Christopher J., VanDerWal, Jeremy, Zamudio, Kelly R., and Graham, Catherine H. (2012) Latitude, elevational climatic zonation and speciation in New World vertebrates. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 279 (1726). pp. 194-201.

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Abstract

Many biodiversity hotspots are located in montane regions, especially in the tropics. A possible explanation for this pattern is that the narrow thermal tolerances of tropical species and greater climatic stratification of tropical mountains create more opportunities for climate-associated parapatric or allopatric speciation in the tropics relative to the temperate zone. However, it is unclear whether a general relationship exists among latitude, climatic zonation and the ecology of speciation. Recent taxon-specific studies obtained different results regarding the role of climate in speciation in tropical versus temperate areas. Here, we quantify overlap in the climatic distributions of 93 pairs of sister species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles restricted to either the New World tropics or to the Northern temperate zone. We show that elevational ranges of tropical- and temperate-zone species do not differ from one another, yet the temperature range experienced by species in the temperate zone is greater than for those in the tropics. Moreover, tropical sister species tend to exhibit greater similarity in their climatic distributions than temperate sister species. This pattern suggests that evolutionary conservatism in the thermal niches of tropical taxa, coupled with the greater thermal zonation of tropical mountains, may result in increased opportunities for allopatric isolation, speciation and the accumulation of species in tropical montane regions. Our study exemplifies the power of combining phylogenetic and spatial datasets of global climatic variation to explore evolutionary (rather than purely ecological) explanations for the high biodiversity of tropical montane regions.

Item ID: 22290
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: allopatric speciation, diversification, ecological speciation, latitudinal diversity gradient, niche conservatism
ISSN: 1471-2954
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2012 09:33
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 2
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