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      Endemism hotspots are linked to stable climatic refugia

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          Background Centres of endemism have received much attention from evolutionists, biogeographers, ecologists and conservationists. Climatic stability is often cited as a major reason for the occurrences of these geographic concentrations of species which are not found anywhere else. The proposed linkage between endemism and climatic stability raises unanswered questions about the persistence of biodiversity during the present era of rapidly changing climate.

          Key Questions The current status of evidence linking geographic centres of endemism to climatic stability over evolutionary time was examined. The following questions were asked. Do macroecological analyses support such an endemism–stability linkage? Do comparative studies find that endemic species display traits reflecting evolution in stable climates? Will centres of endemism in microrefugia or macrorefugia remain relatively stable and capable of supporting high biological diversity into the future? What are the implications of the endemism–stability linkage for conservation?

          Conclusions Recent work using the concept of climate change velocity supports the classic idea that centres of endemism occur where past climatic fluctuations have been mild and where mountainous topography or favourable ocean currents contribute to creating refugia. Our knowledge of trait differences between narrow endemics and more widely distributed species remains highly incomplete. Current knowledge suggests that centres of endemism will remain relatively climatically buffered in the future, with the important caveat that absolute levels of climatic change and species losses in these regions may still be large.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Does global change increase the success of biological invaders?

          Biological invasions are gaining attention as a major threat to biodiversity and an important element of global change. Recent research indicates that other components of global change, such as increases in nitrogen deposition and atmospheric CO2 concentration, favor groups of species that share certain physiological or life history traits. New evidence suggests that many invasive species share traits that will allow them to capitalize on the various elements of global change. Increases in the prevalence of some of these biological invaders would alter basic ecosystem properties in ways that feed back to affect many components of global change.
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            Flowering Plants

             G. Stebbins (1974)
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              Recent assembly of the Cerrado, a neotropical plant diversity hotspot, by in situ evolution of adaptations to fire.

              The relative importance of local ecological and larger-scale historical processes in causing differences in species richness across the globe remains keenly debated. To gain insight into these questions, we investigated the assembly of plant diversity in the Cerrado in South America, the world's most species-rich tropical savanna. Time-calibrated phylogenies suggest that Cerrado lineages started to diversify less than 10 Mya, with most lineages diversifying at 4 Mya or less, coinciding with the rise to dominance of flammable C4 grasses and expansion of the savanna biome worldwide. These plant phylogenies show that Cerrado lineages are strongly associated with adaptations to fire and have sister groups in largely fire-free nearby wet forest, seasonally dry forest, subtropical grassland, or wetland vegetation. These findings imply that the Cerrado formed in situ via recent and frequent adaptive shifts to resist fire, rather than via dispersal of lineages already adapted to fire. The location of the Cerrado surrounded by a diverse array of species-rich biomes, and the apparently modest adaptive barrier posed by fire, are likely to have contributed to its striking species richness. These findings add to growing evidence that the origins and historical assembly of species-rich biomes have been idiosyncratic, driven in large part by unique features of regional- and continental-scale geohistory and that different historical processes can lead to similar levels of modern species richness.

                Author and article information

                Ann Bot
                Ann. Bot
                Annals of Botany
                Oxford University Press
                January 2017
                07 January 2017
                : 119
                : 2 , SPECIAL ISSUE Endemism Hotspots
                : 207-214
                [1 ]Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA
                [2 ]Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]For correspondence. E-mail spharrison@ 123456ucdavis.edu
                PMC5321063 PMC5321063 5321063 mcw248
                © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
                Page count
                Pages: 8


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