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Adjacency and Area Explain Species Bioregional Shifts in Neotropical Palms

Journal article
Authors C. G. Freitas
Christine D. Bacon
A. C. Souza-Neto
R. G. Collevatti
Published in Frontiers in Plant Science
Volume 10
ISSN 1664-462X
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords arecaceae, community phylogenetics, geographical variables, phylogenetic nestedness, phylogenetic, niche conservatism, plant diversity, r package, evolution, patterns, arecaceae, biogeography, dispersal, ecology, scale
Subject categories Biological Sciences


Environmental and geographical variables are known drivers of community assembly, however their influence on phylogenetic structure and phylogenetic beta diversity of lineages within different bioregions is not well-understood. Using Neotropical palms as a model, we investigate how environmental and geographical variables affect the assembly of lineages into bioregions across an evolutionary time scale. We also determine lineage shifts between tropical (TRF) and non-tropical (non-TRF) forests. Our results identify that distance and area explain phylogenetic dissimilarity among bioregions. Lineages in smaller bioregions are a subset of larger bioregions and contribute significantly to the nestedness component of phylogenetic dissimilarity, here interpreted as evidence for a bioregional shift. We found a significant tendency of habitat shifts occurring preferentially between TRF and non-TRF bioregions (31 shifts) than from non-TRF to TRF (24) or from TRF to TRF (11) and non-TRF to non-TRF (9). Our results also present cases where low dissimilarity is found between TRF and non-TRF bioregions. Most bioregions showed phylogenetic clustering and larger bioregions tended to be more clustered than smaller ones, with a higher species turnover component of phylogenetic dissimilarity. However, phylogenetic structure did not differ between TRF and non-TRF bioregions and diversification rates were higher in only two lineages, Attaleinae and Bactridinae, which are widespread and overabundant in both TRF and non-TRF bioregions. Area and distance significantly affected Neotropical palm community assembly and contributed more than environmental variables. Despite palms being emblematic humid forest elements, we found multiple shifts from humid to dry bioregions, showing that palms are also important components of these environments.

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