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Niche conservatism and elevated diversification shape species diversity in drylands: evidence from Zygophyllaceae.

ABSTRACT: 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.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC6235028 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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