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      Neotropical Plant Evolution: Assembling the Big Picture : Neotropical Plant Evolution

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      Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Speciation in amazonian forest birds.

           J Haffer (1969)
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            Nine exceptional radiations plus high turnover explain species diversity in jawed vertebrates.

            The uneven distribution of species richness is a fundamental and unexplained pattern of vertebrate biodiversity. Although species richness in groups like mammals, birds, or teleost fishes is often attributed to accelerated cladogenesis, we lack a quantitative conceptual framework for identifying and comparing the exceptional changes of tempo in vertebrate evolutionary history. We develop MEDUSA, a stepwise approach based upon the Akaike information criterion for detecting multiple shifts in birth and death rates on an incompletely resolved phylogeny. We apply MEDUSA incompletely to a diversity tree summarizing both evolutionary relationships and species richness of 44 major clades of jawed vertebrates. We identify 9 major changes in the tempo of gnathostome diversification; the most significant of these lies at the base of a clade that includes most of the coral-reef associated fishes as well as cichlids and perches. Rate increases also underlie several well recognized tetrapod radiations, including most modern birds, lizards and snakes, ostariophysan fishes, and most eutherian mammals. In addition, we find that large sections of the vertebrate tree exhibit nearly equal rates of origination and extinction, providing some of the first evidence from molecular data for the importance of faunal turnover in shaping biodiversity. Together, these results reveal living vertebrate biodiversity to be the product of volatile turnover punctuated by 6 accelerations responsible for >85% of all species as well as 3 slowdowns that have produced "living fossils." In addition, by revealing the timing of the exceptional pulses of vertebrate diversification as well as the clades that experience them, our diversity tree provides a framework for evaluating particular causal hypotheses of vertebrate radiations.
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              The origins of C4 grasslands: integrating evolutionary and ecosystem science.

              The evolution of grasses using C4 photosynthesis and their sudden rise to ecological dominance 3 to 8 million years ago is among the most dramatic examples of biome assembly in the geological record. A growing body of work suggests that the patterns and drivers of C4 grassland expansion were considerably more complex than originally assumed. Previous research has benefited substantially from dialog between geologists and ecologists, but current research must now integrate fully with phylogenetics. A synthesis of grass evolutionary biology with grassland ecosystem science will further our knowledge of the evolution of traits that promote dominance in grassland systems and will provide a new context in which to evaluate the relative importance of C4 photosynthesis in transforming ecosystems across large regions of Earth.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
                Bot J Linn Soc
                Wiley-Blackwell
                00244074
                January 2013
                January 2013
                : 171
                : 1
                : 1-18
                Article
                10.1111/boj.12006
                © 2013

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