Phylogenetic assemblage structure of North American trees is more strongly shaped by glacial-interglacial climate variability in gymnosperms than in angiosperms.
ABSTRACT: How fast does biodiversity respond to climate change? The relationship of past and current climate with phylogenetic assemblage structure helps us to understand this question. Studies of angiosperm tree diversity in North America have already suggested effects of current water-energy balance and tropical niche conservatism. However, the role of glacial-interglacial climate variability remains to be determined, and little is known about any of these relationships for gymnosperms. Moreover, phylogenetic endemism, the concentration of unique lineages in restricted ranges, may also be related to glacial-interglacial climate variability and needs more attention. We used a refined phylogeny of both angiosperms and gymnosperms to map phylogenetic diversity, clustering and endemism of North American trees in 100-km grid cells, and climate change velocity since Last Glacial Maximum together with postglacial accessibility to recolonization to quantify glacial-interglacial climate variability. We found: (1) Current climate is the dominant factor explaining the overall patterns, with more clustered angiosperm assemblages toward lower temperature, consistent with tropical niche conservatism. (2) Long-term climate stability is associated with higher angiosperm endemism, while higher postglacial accessibility is linked to to more phylogenetic clustering and endemism in gymnosperms. (3) Factors linked to glacial-interglacial climate change have stronger effects on gymnosperms than on angiosperms. These results suggest that paleoclimate legacies supplement current climate in shaping phylogenetic patterns in North American trees, and especially so for gymnosperms.
Project description:Larix laricina (eastern larch, tamarack) is a transcontinental North American conifer with a prominent disjunction in the Yukon isolating the Alaskan distribution from the rest of its range. We investigate whether in situ persistence during the last glacial maximum (LGM) or long-distance postglacial migration from south of the ice sheets resulted in the modern-day Alaskan distribution. We analyzed variation in three chloroplast DNA regions of 840 trees from a total of 69 populations (24 new sampling sites situated on both sides of the Yukon range disjunction pooled with 45 populations from a published source) and conducted ensemble species distribution modeling (SDM) throughout Canada and United States to hindcast the potential range of L. laricina during the LGM. We uncovered the genetic signature of a long-term isolation of larch populations in Alaska, identifying three endemic chlorotypes and low levels of genetic diversity. Range-wide analysis across North America revealed the presence of a distinct Alaskan lineage. Postglacial gene flow across the Yukon divide was unidirectional, from Alaska toward previously glaciated Canadian regions, and with no evidence of immigration into Alaska. Hindcast SDM indicates one of the broadest areas of past climate suitability for L. laricina existed in central Alaska, suggesting possible in situ persistence of larch in Alaska during the LGM. Our results provide the first unambiguous evidence for the long-term isolation of L. laricina in Alaska that extends beyond the last glacial period and into the present interglacial period. The lack of gene flow into Alaska along with the overall probability of larch occurrence in Alaska being currently lower than during the LGM suggests that modern-day Alaskan larch populations are isolated climate relicts of broader glacial distributions, and so are particularly vulnerable to current warming trends.
Project description:Background:The evolutionary history of southern South American organisms has been strongly influenced by Pleistocene climate oscillations. Amphibians are good models to evaluate hypotheses about the influence of these climate cycles on population structure and diversification of the biota, because they are sensitive to environmental changes and have restricted dispersal capabilities. We test hypotheses regarding putative forest refugia and expansion events associated with past climatic changes in the wood frog Batrachyla leptopus distributed along ?1,000 km of length including glaciated and non-glaciated areas in southwestern Patagonia. Methods:Using three mitochondrial regions (D-loop, cyt b, and coI) and two nuclear loci (pomc and crybA1), we conducted multilocus phylogeographic analyses and species distribution modelling to gain insights of the evolutionary history of this species. Intraspecific genealogy was explored with maximum likelihood, Bayesian, and phylogenetic network approaches. Diversification time was assessed using molecular clock models in a Bayesian framework, and demographic scenarios were evaluated using approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) and extended Bayesian skyline plot (EBSP). Species distribution models (SDM) were reconstructed using climatic and geographic data. Results:Population structure and genealogical analyses support the existence of four lineages distributed north to south, with moderate to high phylogenetic support (Bootstrap > 70%; BPP > 0.92). The diversification time of B. leptopus' populations began at ?0.107 mya. The divergence between A and B lineages would have occurred by the late Pleistocene, approximately 0.068 mya, and divergence between C and D lineages was approximately 0.065 mya. The ABC simulations indicate that lineages coalesced at two different time periods, suggesting the presence of at least two glacial refugia and a postglacial colonization route that may have generated two southern lineages (p = 0.93, type I error: <0.094, type II error: 0.134). EBSP, mismatch distribution and neutrality indexes suggest sudden population expansion at ?0.02 mya for all lineages. SDM infers fragmented distributions of B. leptopus associated with Pleistocene glaciations. Although the present populations of B. leptopus are found in zones affected by the last glacial maximum (?0.023 mya), our analyses recover an older history of interglacial diversification (0.107-0.019 mya). In addition, we hypothesize two glacial refugia and three interglacial colonization routes, one of which gave rise to two expanding lineages in the south.
Project description:Postglacial climate changes alter geographical distributions and diversity of species. Such ongoing changes often force species to migrate along the latitude/altitude. Altitudinal gradients represent assemblage of environmental, especially climatic, variable factors that influence the plant distributions. Global warming that triggered upward migrations has therefore impacted the alpine plants on an island. In this study, we examined the genetic structure of Juniperus morrisonicola, a dominant alpine species in Taiwan, and inferred historical, demographic dynamics based on multilocus analyses. Lower levels of genetic diversity in north indicated that populations at higher latitudes were vulnerable to climate change, possibly related to historical alpine glaciers. Neither organellar DNA nor nuclear genes displayed geographical subdivisions, indicating that populations were likely interconnected before migrating upward to isolated mountain peaks, providing low possibilities of seed/pollen dispersal across mountain ranges. Bayesian skyline plots suggested steady population growth of J. morrisonicola followed by recent demographic contraction. In contrast, most lower-elevation plants experienced recent demographic expansion as a result of global warming. The endemic alpine conifer may have experienced dramatic climate changes over the alternation of glacial and interglacial periods, as indicated by a trend showing decreasing genetic diversity with the altitudinal gradient, plus a fact of upward migration.
Project description:Reconstructions of past Saharan dust deposition in marine sediments provide foundational records of North African climate over time scales of 103 to 106 years. Previous dust records show primarily glacial-interglacial variability in the Pleistocene, in contrast to other monsoon records showing strong precessional variability. Here, we present the first Saharan dust record spanning multiple glacial cycles obtained using 230Th normalization, an improved method of calculating fluxes. Contrary to previous data, our record from the West African margin demonstrates high correlation with summer insolation and limited glacial-interglacial changes, indicating coherent variability in the African monsoon belt throughout the late Pleistocene. Our results demonstrate that low-latitude Saharan dust emissions do not vary synchronously with high- and mid-latitude dust emissions, and they call into question the use of existing Plio-Pleistocene dust records to investigate links between climate and hominid evolution.
Project description:Climate change is not only evident, but its implications on biodiversity are already patent. The scientific community has delved into the limitations and capabilities of species to face changes in climatic conditions through experimental studies and, primarily, Species Distribution Models (SDMs). Nevertheless, the widespread use of SDMs comes with some intrinsic assumptions, such as niche conservatism, which are not always true. Alternatively, the fossil record can provide additional data to solve the uncertainties of species' responses to climate change based on their history. Using a combined environmental (niche overlap indices) and geographical approach (temporal transferability of SDMs), we assessed the niche conservatism of Microtus cabrerae throughout its evolutionary history: the Late Pleistocene and the Holocene. The set of analyses performed within this timeframe provides a broad view pointing to a shift in the realized climatic niche of the species. Specifically, M. cabrerae exhibited a broader niche during glacial times than interglacial times, expanding towards novel conditions. Hence, the species might have developed an adaptive ability, as a consequence of mechanisms of local adaptation or natural pressures, or just be preadapted to cope with the novel environment, due to expansion into an unfilled portion of the niche. Nevertheless, the more restricted realized niche during last interglacial times reveals that the species could be close to its physiological limits.
Project description:AimThe fossil record has led to a historical explanation for forest diversity gradients within the cool parts of the Northern Hemisphere, founded on a limited ability of woody angiosperm clades to adapt to mid-Tertiary cooling. We tested four predictions of how this should be manifested in the phylogenetic structure of 91,340 communities: (1) forests to the north should comprise species from younger clades (families) than forests to the south; (2) average cold tolerance at a local site should be associated with the mean family age (MFA) of species; (3) minimum temperature should account for MFA better than alternative environmental variables; and (4) traits associated with survival in cold climates should evolve under a niche conservatism constraint. LocationThe contiguous United States. MethodsWe extracted angiosperms from the US Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis database. MFA was calculated by assigning age of the family to which each species belongs and averaging across the species in each community. We developed a phylogeny to identify phylogenetic signal in five traits: realized cold tolerance, seed size, seed dispersal mode, leaf phenology and height. Phylogenetic signal representation curves and phylogenetic generalized least squares were used to compare patterns of trait evolution against Brownian motion. Eleven predictors structured at broad or local scales were generated to explore relationships between environment and MFA using random forest and general linear models. ResultsConsistent with predictions, (1) southern communities comprise angiosperm species from older families than northern communities, (2) cold tolerance is the trait most strongly associated with local MFA, (3) minimum temperature in the coldest month is the environmental variable that best describes MFA, broad-scale variables being much stronger correlates than local-scale variables, and (4) the phylogenetic structures of cold tolerance and at least one other trait associated with survivorship in cold climates indicate niche conservatism. Main conclusionsTropical niche conservatism in the face of long-term climate change, probably initiated in the Late Cretaceous associated with the rise of the Rocky Mountains, is a strong driver of the phylogenetic structure of the angiosperm component of forest communities across the USA. However, local deterministic and/or stochastic processes account for perhaps a quarter of the variation in the MFA of local communities.
Project description:Broad-scale climate control of vegetation is widely assumed. Vegetation-climate lags are generally thought to have lasted no more than a few centuries. Here our palaeoecological study challenges this concept over glacial-interglacial timescales. Through multivariate analyses of pollen assemblages from Lake El'gygytgyn, Russian Far East and other data we show that interglacial vegetation during the Plio-Pleistocene transition mainly reflects conditions of the preceding glacial instead of contemporary interglacial climate. Vegetation-climate disequilibrium may persist for several millennia, related to the combined effects of permafrost persistence, distant glacial refugia and fire. In contrast, no effects from the preceding interglacial on glacial vegetation are detected. We propose that disequilibrium was stronger during the Plio-Pleistocene transition than during the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period when, in addition to climate, herbivory was important. By analogy to the past, we suggest today's widespread larch ecosystem on permafrost is not in climate equilibrium. Vegetation-based reconstructions of interglacial climates used to assess atmospheric CO2-temperature relationships may thus yield misleading simulations of past global climate sensitivity.
Project description:The ragged topography created by orogenesis generates diversified habitats for plants in Taiwan. In addition to colonization from nearby mainland China, high species diversity and endemism of plants is also present in Taiwan. Five of the seven Scutellaria species (Lamiaceae) in Taiwan, for example, are endemic to the island. Hypotheses of multiple sources or in situ radiation have arisen to explain the high endemism of Taiwanese species. In this study, phylogenetic analyses using both nuclear and chloroplast markers revealed the multiple sources of Taiwanese Scutellaria species and confirmed the rapid and recent speciation of endemic species, especially those of the "indica group" composed of S. indica, S. austrotaiwanensis, S. tashiroi, and S. playfairii. The common ancestors of the indica group colonized first in northern Taiwan and dispersed regionally southward and eastward. Climate changes during glacial/interglacial cycles led to gradual colonization and variance events in the ancestors of these species, resulting in the present distribution and genetic differentiation of extant populations. Population decline was also detected in S. indica, which might reflect a bottleneck effect from the glacials. In contrast, the recently speciated endemic members of the indica group have not had enough time to accumulate much genetic variation and are thus genetically insensitive to demographic fluctuations, but the extant lineages were spatially expanded in the coalescent process. This study integrated phylogenetic and population genetic analyses to illustrate the evolutionary history of Taiwanese Scutellaria of high endemism and may be indicative of the diversification mechanism of plants on continental islands.
Project description:Investigating past interglacial climates not only help to understand how the climate system operates in general, it also forms a vital basis for climate predictions. We reconstructed vertical stratification changes in temperature and salinity in the North Atlantic for a period some 400?ka ago (MIS11), an interglacial time analogue of a future climate. As inferred from a unique set of biogeochemical, geochemical, and faunal data, the internal upper ocean stratification across MIS 11 shows distinct depth-dependent dynamical changes related to vertical as well as lateral shifts in the upper Atlantic meridional circulation system. Importantly, transient cold events are recognized near the end of the long phase of postglacial warming at surface, subsurface, mid, and deeper water layers. These data demonstrate that MIS 11 coolings over the North Atlantic were initially triggered by freshwater input at the surface and expansion of cold polar waters into the Subpolar Gyre. The cooling signal was then transmitted downwards into mid-water depths. Since the cold events occurred after the main deglacial phase we suggest that their cause might be related to continuous melting of the Greenland ice sheet, a mechanism that might also be relevant for the present and upcoming climate.
Project description:Bird species richness is mediated by local, regional, and historical factors, for example, competition, environmental heterogeneity, contemporary, and historical climate. Here, we related bird species richness with phylogenetic relatedness of bird assemblages, plant species richness, topography, contemporary climate, and glacial-interglacial climate change to investigate the relative importance of these factors. This study was conducted in Inner Mongolia, an arid and semiarid region with diverse vegetation types and strong species richness gradients. The following associated variables were included as follows: phylogenetic relatedness of bird assemblages (Net Relatedness Index, NRI), plant species richness, altitudinal range, contemporary climate (mean annual temperature and precipitation, MAT and MAP), and contemporary-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) change in climate (change in MAT and change in MAP). Ordinary least squares linear, simultaneous autoregressive linear, and Random Forest models were used to assess the associations between these variables and bird species richness across this region. We found that bird species richness was correlated negatively with NRI and positively with plant species richness and altitudinal range, with no significant correlations with contemporary climate and glacial-interglacial climate change. The six best combinations of variables ranked by Random Forest models consistently included NRI, plant species richness, and contemporary-LGM change in MAT. Our results suggest important roles of local ecological factors in shaping the distribution of bird species richness across this semiarid region. Our findings highlight the potential importance of these local ecological factors, for example, environmental heterogeneity, habitat filtering, and biotic interactions, in biodiversity maintenance.