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Phylogenetic biome conservatism on a global scale


Crisp, MD and Arroyo, MTK and Cook, LG and Gandolfo, MA and Jordan, GJ and McGlone, MS and Weston, PH and Westoby, M and Wilf, P and Linder, HP, Phylogenetic biome conservatism on a global scale, Nature, 458, (7239) pp. 754-756. ISSN 0028-0836 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature07764


How and why organisms are distributed as they are has long intrigued evolutionary biologists. The tendency for species to retain their ancestral ecology has been demonstrated in distributions on local and regional scales, but the extent of ecological conservatism over tens of millions of years and across continents has not been assessed. Here we show that biome stasis at speciation has outweighed biome shifts by a ratio of more than 25:1, by inferring ancestral biomes for an ecologically diverse sample of more than 11,000 plant species from around the Southern Hemisphere. Stasis was also prevalent in transocean colonizations. Availability of a suitable biome could have substantially influenced which lineages establish on more than one landmass, in addition to the influence of the rarity of the dispersal events themselves. Conversely, the taxonomic composition of biomes has probably been strongly influenced by the rarity of species transitions between biomes. This study has implications for the future because if clades have inherently limited capacity to shift biomes, then their evolutionary potential could be strongly compromised by biome contraction as climate changes. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Jordan, GJ (Professor Greg Jordan)
ID Code:59923
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:498
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2009-12-22
Last Modified:2010-10-06

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