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      Urban tolerance is phylogenetically constrained and mediated by pre‐adaptations in African bats


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          With increasing urbanization, particularly in developing countries, it is important to understand how local biota will respond to such landscape changes. Bats comprise one of the most diverse groups of mammals in urban areas, and many species are threatened by habitat destruction and land use change. Yet, in Africa, the response of bats to urban areas is relatively understudied. Therefore, we collated data on urban presence, phylogenetic relationship, and ecological traits of 54 insectivorous bats in Africa from available literature to test if their response to urbanization was phylogenetically and/or ecologically driven. Ancestral state reconstruction of urban tolerance, defined by functional group and presence observed in urban areas, suggests that ancestral African bat species could adapt to urban landscapes, and significant phylogenetic signal for urban tolerance indicates that this ability is evolutionarily conserved and mediated by pre‐adaptations. Specifically, traits of high wing loading and aspect ratio, and flexible roosting strategies, enable occupancy of urban areas. Therefore, our results identify the traits that predict which bat species will likely occur in urban areas, and which vulnerable bat clades conservation efforts should focus on to reduce loss of both functional and phylogenetic diversity in Africa. We, additionally, highlight several gaps in research that should be investigated in future studies to provide better monitoring of the impact urbanization will have on African bats.


          African insectivorous bats (order Chiroptera) can be classified into urban avoiders, adapters, or exploiters based on wing morphology and roost specificity. These traits and a species' phylogenetic history drive pre‐adaptations for inhabiting urban areas. The ancestor of these African species likely had traits aligning with a modern urban adapter bat.

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          ape 5.0: an environment for modern phylogenetics and evolutionary analyses in R

          After more than fifteen years of existence, the R package ape has continuously grown its contents, and has been used by a growing community of users. The release of version 5.0 has marked a leap towards a modern software for evolutionary analyses. Efforts have been put to improve efficiency, flexibility, support for 'big data' (R's long vectors), ease of use and quality check before a new release. These changes will hopefully make ape a useful software for the study of biodiversity and evolution in a context of increasing data quantity.
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            phytools: an R package for phylogenetic comparative biology (and other things)

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              Urbanization, Biodiversity, and Conservation


                Author and article information

                Ecol Evol
                Ecol Evol
                Ecology and Evolution
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                08 March 2023
                March 2023
                : 13
                : 3 ( doiID: 10.1002/ece3.v13.3 )
                [ 1 ] Centre for Functional Biodiversity, School of Life Sciences University of KwaZulu‐Natal Durban South Africa
                [ 2 ] School of Life Sciences University of KwaZulu‐Natal Durban South Africa
                Author notes
                [*] [* ] Correspondence

                Genevieve E. Marsden, Centre for Functional Biodiversity, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu‐Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa.

                Email: gmarsden94@ 123456gmail.com

                ECE39840 ECE-2022-08-01215.R2
                © 2023 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 2, Pages: 10, Words: 8217
                Funded by: South African National Research Foundation
                Evolutionary Ecology
                Urban Ecology
                Research Article
                Research Articles
                Custom metadata
                March 2023
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:6.2.6 mode:remove_FC converted:08.03.2023

                Evolutionary Biology
                chiroptera,phylogenetic signal,pre‐adaptation,urban
                Evolutionary Biology
                chiroptera, phylogenetic signal, pre‐adaptation, urban


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