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      Biogeographic Analysis Reveals Ancient Continental Vicariance and Recent Oceanic Dispersal in Amphibians

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      Systematic Biology

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Abstract

          Amphibia comprises over 7000 extant species distributed in almost every ecosystem on every continent except Antarctica. Most species also show high specificity for particular habitats, biomes, or climatic niches, seemingly rendering long-distance dispersal unlikely. Indeed, many lineages still seem to show the signature of their Pangaean origin, approximately 300 Ma later. To date, no study has attempted a large-scale historical-biogeographic analysis of the group to understand the distribution of extant lineages. Here, I use an updated chronogram containing 3309 species (∼ 45% of extant diversity) to reconstruct their movement between 12 global ecoregions. I find that Pangaean origin and subsequent Laurasian and Gondwanan fragmentation explain a large proportion of patterns in the distribution of extant species. However, dispersal during the Cenozoic, likely across land bridges or short distances across oceans, has also exerted a strong influence. Finally, there are at least three strongly supported instances of long-distance oceanic dispersal between former Gondwanan landmasses during the Cenozoic. Extinction from intervening areas seems to be a strong factor in shaping present-day distributions. Dispersal and extinction from and between ecoregions are apparently tied to the evolution of extraordinarily adaptive expansion-oriented phenotypes that allow lineages to easily colonize new areas and diversify, or conversely, to extremely specialized phenotypes or heavily relictual climatic niches that result in strong geographic localization and limited diversification.

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          The species richness (diversity) of local plant and animal assemblages-biological communities-balances regional processes of species formation and geographic dispersal, which add species to communities, against processes of predation, competitive exclusion, adaptation, and stochastic variation, which may promote local extinction. During the past three decades, ecologists have sought to explain differences in local diversity by the influence of the physical environment on local interactions among species, interactions that are generally believed to limit the number of coexisting species. But diversity of the biological community often fails to converge under similar physical conditions, and local diversity bears a demonstrable dependence upon regional diversity. These observations suggest that regional and historical processes, as well as unique events and circumstances, profoundly influence local community structure. Ecologists must broaden their concepts of community processes and incorporate data from systematics, biogeography, and paleontology into analyses of ecological patterns and tests of community theory.
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            A comprehensive framework for global patterns in biodiversity

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              Estimating Absolute Rates of Molecular Evolution and Divergence Times: A Penalized Likelihood Approach

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Systematic Biology
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                1076-836X
                1063-5157
                September 2014
                September 01 2014
                June 19 2014
                September 2014
                September 01 2014
                June 19 2014
                : 63
                : 5
                : 779-797
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological Sciences, The George Washington University, 2023 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20052, USA;
                Article
                10.1093/sysbio/syu042
                24951557
                © 2014

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