Accelerated rates of climatic-niche evolution underlie rapid species diversification

Kenneth H. Kozak, John J Wiens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A major goal of ecology is to explain differences in species richness between regions and among clades. The diversification rate of clades is a key parameter for understanding both patterns. Here, we combine phylogenetic and climatic data for 250 species of plethodontid salamanders and show for the first time that rapid species diversification is associated with accelerated climatic-niche evolution among species. Both rates are particularly rapid in tropical regions, and where few clades geographically overlap. These results offer a surprising ecological explanation for why diversification rates are often higher in the tropics: rapid shifts between climatic regimes, rather than specific environmental conditions (e.g. high productivity, energy) drive higher diversity. They also suggest that climatic-niche evolution may be particularly rapid in regions where climate is particularly stable. Finally, these results indicate that evolutionary conservatism in climatic niches may be influenced by interactions between species and clades, rather than physiological tolerances alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1389
Number of pages12
JournalEcology Letters
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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niche
niches
tropics
salamanders and newts
tropical region
climate
ecology
species diversity
environmental factors
tolerance
species richness
phylogeny
environmental conditions
energy
phylogenetics
productivity
rate

Keywords

  • Amphibians
  • Climate change
  • Diversification
  • Diversity
  • Niche conservatism
  • Niche evolution
  • Phylogeny
  • Plethodontidae
  • Salamanders
  • Speciation
  • Species interactions
  • Species richness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Accelerated rates of climatic-niche evolution underlie rapid species diversification. / Kozak, Kenneth H.; Wiens, John J.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 13, No. 11, 2010, p. 1378-1389.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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