Predictable variation of range-sizes across an extreme environmental gradient in a lizard adaptive radiation: evolutionary and ecological inferences

Pincheira-Donoso, Daniel (2011) Predictable variation of range-sizes across an extreme environmental gradient in a lizard adaptive radiation: evolutionary and ecological inferences. PLoS ONE, 6 (12). ISSN 1932-6203

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Large-scale patterns of current species geographic range-size variation reflect historical dynamics of dispersal and provide insights into future consequences under changing environments. Evidence suggests that climate warming exerts major damage on high latitude and elevation organisms, where changes are more severe and available space to disperse tracking historical niches is more limited. Species with longer generations (slower adaptive responses), such as vertebrates, and with restricted distributions (lower genetic diversity, higher inbreeding) in these environments are expected to be particularly threatened by warming crises. However, a well-known macroecological generalization (Rapoport's rule) predicts that species range-sizes increase with increasing latitude-elevation, thus counterbalancing the impact of climate change. Here, I investigate geographic range-size variation across an extreme environmental gradient and as a function of body size, in the prominent Liolaemus lizard adaptive radiation. Conventional and phylogenetic analyses revealed that latitudinal (but not elevational) ranges significantly decrease with increasing latitude-elevation, while body size was unrelated to range-size. Evolutionarily, these results are insightful as they suggest a link between spatial environmental gradients and range-size evolution. However, ecologically, these results suggest that Liolaemus might be increasingly threatened if, as predicted by theory, ranges retract and contract continuously under persisting climate warming, potentially increasing extinction risks at high latitudes and elevations. © 2011 Daniel Pincheira-Donoso.

Keywords:adaptive radiation, article, body size, climate change, controlled study, ecological niche, environmental temperature, evolutionary adaptation, female, geographic elevation, geographical variation (species), latitude, Liolaemus, lizard, male, molecular phylogeny, nonhuman, prediction, species diversity, species extinction, warming, adaptation, altitude, animal, ecosystem, evolution, geography, phylogeny, physiology, species difference, Adaptation, Physiological, Animals, Biological Evolution, Lizards, Species Specificity
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:9004
Deposited On:27 Apr 2013 21:08

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