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Evolutionary time drives global tetrapod diversity


Marin, J and Rapacciuolo, G and Costa, GC and Graham, CH and Brooks, TM and Young, BE and Radeloff, VC and Behm, JE and Helmus, MR and Hedges, SB, Evolutionary time drives global tetrapod diversity, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285, (1872) Article 20172378. ISSN 0962-8452 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.2378


Global variation in species richness is widely recognized, but the explanation for what drives it continues to be debated. Previous efforts have focused on a subset of potential drivers, including evolutionary rate, evolutionary time (maximum clade age of species restricted to a region), dispersal (migration from one region to another), ecological factors and climatic stability. However, no study has evaluated these competing hypotheses simultaneously at a broad spatial scale. Here, we examine their relative contribution in determining the richness of the most comprehensive dataset of tetrapods to our knowledge (84% of the described species), distinguishing between the direct influences of evolutionary rate, evolutionary time and dispersal, and the indirect influences of ecological factors and climatic stability through their effect on direct factors. We found that evolutionary time exerted a primary influence on species richness, with evolutionary rate being of secondary importance. By contrast, dispersal did not significantly affect richness patterns. Ecological and climatic stability factors influenced species richness indirectly by modifying evolutionary time (i.e. persistence time) and rate. Overall, our findings suggest that global heterogeneity in tetrapod richness is explained primarily by the length of time species have had to diversify.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climatic stability, energy richness, evolutionary rate, evolutionary time, species richness, tetrapod
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Genetics
Research Field:Genetics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Brooks, TM (Dr Thomas Brooks)
ID Code:132049
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2019-04-17
Last Modified:2019-05-14

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