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Rapid biological speciation driven by tectonic evolution in New Zealand


Craw, D and Upton, P and Burridge, CP and Wallis, GP and Waters, JM, Rapid biological speciation driven by tectonic evolution in New Zealand, Nature Geoscience, 9, (2) pp. 140-144. ISSN 1752-0894 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2016 Macmillan Publishers

DOI: doi:10.1038/NGEO2618


Collisions between tectonic plates lead to the rise of new mountain ranges that can separate biological populations and ultimately result in new species. However, the identification of links between tectonic mountain-building and biological speciation is confounded by environmental and ecological factors. Thus, there are surprisingly few well-documented examples of direct tectonic controls on terrestrial biological speciation. Here we present examples from New Zealand, where the rapid evolution of 18 species of freshwater fishes has resulted from parallel tectonic landscape evolution. We use numerical models to reconstruct changes in the deep crustal structure and surface drainage catchments of the southern island of New Zealand over the past 25 million years. We show that the island and mountain topography evolved in six principal tectonic zones, which have distinct drainage catchments that separated fish populations. We use new and existing, phylogenetic analyses of freshwater fish populations, based on over 1,000 specimens from more than 400 localities, to show that fish genomes can retain evidence of this tectonic landscape development, with a clear correlation between geologic age and extent of DNA sequence divergence. We conclude that landscape evolution has controlled on-going biological diversification over the past 25 million years.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:speciation, mountain building, tectonics, fish
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biogeography and phylogeography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Burridge, CP (Associate Professor Christopher Burridge)
ID Code:107018
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:55
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-03-01
Last Modified:2022-08-29

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