Ecological drivers of plant genetic diversity at the southern edge of geographical distributions: Forestal vines in a temperate region.
ABSTRACT: The Tropical Niche Conservatism hypothesis is one of the most relevant theories to explain why tropical diversity is high, although the mechanisms underlying this hypothesis require further clarification. A possible research avenue to address the underlying mechanisms includes determining population-level processes associated with such a hypothesis, in particular by trying to identify how adaptation may occur in extreme niche conditions at the edges of species ranges. However, the determinants of molecular diversity at the edges of geographical distributions of tropical taxa are still poorly known. Here we assessed which environmental variables determine diversity in nuclear and plastid genetic markers for populations of four Passiflora species in the southern limit of their geographical distributions. Climatic factors can drive genetic diversity, and their importance varies according to the marker. The primary predictors are variables representing higher temperatures during cold periods of the year and higher precipitation during dry periods. We concluded that, although these species are present in colder areas at the edge of their range, Tropical Niche Conservatism acts as a restraining force on genetic diversity in southern populations of Passiflora.
Project description:Plant diversity, like that of most other taxonomic groups, peaks in the tropics, where climatic conditions are warm and wet, and it declines toward the temperate and polar zones as conditions become colder and drier, with more seasonally variable temperatures. Climate and evolutionary history are often considered competing explanations for the latitudinal gradient, but they are linked by the evolutionarily conserved environmental adaptations of species and the history of Earth's climate system. The tropical conservatism hypothesis (TCH) invokes niche conservatism, climatic limitations on establishment and survival, and paleoclimatic history to explain the latitudinal diversity gradient. Here, we use latitudinal distributions for over 12,500 woody angiosperm species, a fossil-calibrated supertree, and null modeling to test predictions of the TCH. Regional assemblages in the northern and southern temperate zones are less phylogenetically diverse than expected based on their species richness, because temperate taxa are clustered into relatively few clades. Moreover, lineages with temperate affinities are generally younger and nested within older, more tropical lineages. As predicted by the TCH, the vast majority of temperate lineages have arisen since global cooling began at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (34 Mya). By linking physiological tolerances of species to evolutionary and biogeographic processes, phylogenetic niche conservatism may provide a theoretical framework for a generalized explanation for Earth's predominant pattern of biodiversity.
Project description:Many groups of organisms show greater species richness in the tropics than in the temperate zone, particularly in tropical montane regions. Forty years ago, Janzen suggested that more limited temperature seasonality in the tropics leads to greater climatic zonation and more climatic barriers to organismal dispersal along elevational gradients in the tropics relative to temperate regions. These factors could lead to differences in how species arise in tropical versus temperate regions and possibly contribute to greater tropical diversity. However, no studies have compared the relationships among climate, elevational distribution and speciation in a group inhabiting both tropical and temperate regions. Here, we compare elevational and climatic divergence among 30 sister-species pairs (14 tropical, 16 temperate) within a single family of salamanders (Plethodontidae) that reaches its greatest species richness in montane Mesoamerica. In support of Janzen's hypothesis, we find that sister species are more elevationally and climatically divergent in the tropics than in the temperate zone. This pattern seemingly reflects regional variation in the role of climate in speciation, with niche conservatism predominating in the temperate zone and niche divergence in the tropics. Our study demonstrates how latitudinal differences in elevational climatic zonation may increase opportunities for geographical isolation, speciation and the associated build-up of species diversity in the tropics relative to the temperate zone.
Project description:Species assemblage in a local community is determined by the interplay of evolutionary and ecological processes. The Tropical Niche Conservatism hypothesis proposes mechanisms underlying patterns of biodiversity in biological communities along environmental gradients. This hypothesis predicts that, among other things, clades in areas with warm or wet environments are, on average, older than those in areas with cold or dry environments. Focusing on angiosperm trees in forests, this study tested the age-related prediction of the Tropical Niche Conservatism hypothesis. We related the mean family age of angiosperm trees in 57 local forests from across China with 23 current and paleo-environmental variables, which included all major temperature- and precipitation-related variables. Our study shows that the mean family age of angiosperm trees in local forests was positively correlated with temperature and precipitation. This finding is consistent with the age-related prediction of the Tropical Niche Conservatism hypothesis. Approximately 85% of the variance in the mean family age of angiosperm trees was explained by temperature-related variables, and 81% of the variance in the mean family age of angiosperm trees was explained by precipitation-related variables. Climatic conditions at the Last Glacial Maximum did not explain additional variation in mean family age after accounting for current environmental conditions.
Project description:Lantana camara, a native plant from tropical America, is considered one of the most harmful invasive species worldwide. Several studies have identified potentially invasible areas under scenarios of global change, on the assumption that niche is conserved during the invasion process. Recent studies, however, suggest that many invasive plants do not conserve their niches. Using Principal Components Analyses (PCA), we tested the hypothesis of niche conservatism for L. camara by comparing its native niche in South America with its expressed niche in Africa, Australia and India. Using MaxEnt, the estimated niche for the native region was projected onto each invaded region to generate potential distributions there. Our results demonstrate that while L. camara occupied subsets of its original native niche in Africa and Australia, in India its niche shifted significantly. There, 34% of the occurrences were detected in warmer habitats nonexistent in its native range. The estimated niche for India was also projected onto Africa and Australia to identify other vulnerable areas predicted from the observed niche shift detected in India. As a result, new potentially invasible areas were identified in central Africa and southern Australia. Our findings do not support the hypothesis of niche conservatism for the invasion of L. camara. The mechanisms that allow this species to expand its niche need to be investigated in order to improve our capacity to predict long-term geographic changes in the face of global climatic changes.
Project description:The integrated contributions of climate and macroevolutionary processes to global patterns of species diversity are still controversial in spite of a long history of studies. The niche conservatism hypothesis and the net diversification rate hypothesis have gained wide attention in recent literature. Many studies have tested these two hypotheses for woody species in humid forests; however, the determinants of species diversity patterns for arid-adapted plants remain largely ignored. Here, using a molecular phylogeny and the global distributions of Zygophyllaceae, a typical arid-adapted plant family, we assessed the effects of contemporary climate and net diversification rates on species diversity patterns in drylands. We found the variables representing water availability to be the best predictors for Zygophyllaceae diversity. Specifically, Zygophyllaceae species diversity significantly decreased with the increase in water availability, probably owing to phylogenetic conservatism of water-related niches. The net diversification rates of Zygophyllaceae accelerated sharply in the recent 10 Myr, coinciding roughly with the period of global aridification. The species diversity of Zygophyllaceae significantly increased with the increase in mean net diversification rates per geographical unit, especially in the Old World, supporting the net diversification rate hypothesis. Our study provides a case exploring climatic and evolutionary mechanisms of dryland species diversity patterns, and suggests that the conservatism in water-related niches and elevated net diversification rates in drylands may have jointly determined the global patterns of dryland species diversity.
Project description:The underlying mechanisms responsible for the general increase in species richness from temperate regions to the tropics remain equivocal. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain this astonishing pattern but additional empirical studies are needed to shed light on the drivers at work. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the cosmopolitan diving beetle subfamily Colymbetinae, the majority of which are found in the Northern hemisphere, hence exhibiting an inversed latitudinal diversity gradient. We reconstructed a dated phylogeny using 12 genes, to investigate the biogeographical history and diversification dynamics in the Colymbetinae. We aimed to identify the role that phylogenetic niche conservatism plays in the inversed diversification pattern seen in this group. Our results suggest that Colymbetinae originated in temperate climates, which supports the hypothesis that their distribution is the result of an ancestral adaptation to temperate environmental conditions rather than tropical origins, and that temperate niche conservatism can generate and/or maintain inverse latitudinal diversity gradients.
Project description:Differences in life-history traits between tropical and temperate lineages are often attributed to differences in their climatic niche dynamics. For example, the more frequent appearance of migratory behaviour in temperate-breeding species than in species originally breeding in the tropics is believed to have resulted partly from tropical climatic stability and niche conservatism constraining tropical species from shifting their ranges. However, little is known about the patterns and processes underlying climatic niche evolution in migrant and resident animals. We evaluated the evolution of overlap in climatic niches between seasons and its relationship to migratory behaviour in the Parulidae, a family of New World passerine birds. We used ordination methods to measure seasonal niche overlap and niche breadth of 54 resident and 49 migrant species and used phylogenetic comparative methods to assess patterns of climatic niche evolution. We found that despite travelling thousands of kilometres, migrants tracked climatic conditions across the year to a greater extent than tropical residents. Migrant species had wider niches than resident species, although residents as a group occupied a wider climatic space and niches of migrants and residents overlapped extensively. Neither breeding latitude nor migratory distance explained variation among species in climatic niche overlap between seasons. Our findings support the notion that tropical species have narrower niches than temperate-breeders, but does not necessarily constrain their ability to shift or expand their geographical ranges and become migratory. Overall, the tropics may have been historically less likely to experience the suite of components that generate strong selection pressures for the evolution of migratory behaviour.
Project description: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:Ambient energy, niche conservatism, historical climate stability and habitat heterogeneity hypothesis have been proposed to explain the broad-scale species diversity patterns and species compositions, while their relative importance have been controversial. Here, we assessed the relative contributions of contemporary climate, historical climate changes and habitat heterogeneity in shaping Salix species diversity and species composition in whole eastern Asia as well as mountains and lowlands using linear regressions and distance-based redundancy analyses, respectively. Salix diversity was negatively related with mean annual temperature. Habitat heterogeneity was more important than contemporary climate in shaping Salix diversity patterns, and their relative contributions were different in mountains and lowlands. In contrast, the species composition was strongly influenced by contemporary climate and historical climate change than habitat heterogeneity, and their relative contributions were nearly the same both in mountains and lowlands. Our findings supported niche conservatism and habitat heterogeneity hypotheses, but did not support ambient energy and historical climate stability hypotheses. The diversity pattern and species composition of Salix could not be well-explained by any single hypothesis tested, suggesting that other factors such as disturbance history and diversification rate may be also important in shaping the diversity pattern and composition of Salix species.
Project description:The extent to which the latitudinal gradient in species richness may be paralleled by a similar gradient of increasing functional or phylogenetic diversity is a matter of controversy. We evaluated whether taxonomic richness (TR) is informative in terms of ecological diversity (ED, an approximation to functional diversity) and phylogenetic diversity (AvPD) using data on 531 mammal species representing South American old autochthonous (marsupials, xenarthrans), mid-Cenozoic immigrants (hystricognaths, primates) and newcomers (carnivorans, artiodactyls). If closely related species are ecologically more similar than distantly related species, AvPD will be a strong predictor of ED; however, lower ED than predicted from AvPD may be due to species retaining most of their ancestral characters, suggesting niche conservatism. This pattern could occur in tropical rainforests for taxa of tropical affinity (old autochthonous and mid-Cenozoic immigrants) and in open and arid habitats for newcomers. In contrast, higher ED than expected from AvPD could occur, possibly in association with niche evolution, in arid and open habitats for taxa of tropical affinity and in forested habitats for newcomers. We found that TR was a poor predictor of ED and AvPD. After controlling for TR, there was considerable variability in the extent to which AvPD accounted for ED. Taxa of tropical affinity did not support the prediction of ED deficit within tropical rainforests, rather, they showed a mosaic of regions with an excess of ED interspersed with zones of ED deficit within the tropics; newcomers showed ED deficit in arid and open regions. Some taxa of tropical affinity showed excess of ED in tropical desert areas (hystricognaths) or temperate semideserts (xenarthrans); newcomers showed excess of ED at cold-temperate latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. This result suggests that extreme climatic conditions at both temperate and tropical latitudes may have promoted niche evolution in mammals.