Aim To develop and evaluate a nested clade approach to aid in the determination of areas of endemism (AoE) in biogeographical studies.
Methods We adapted the nested clade analysis (NCA) to studies of areas of endemism. For this purpose we adapted several of the programs currently in use. Two data sets were examined using this approach – one involving Sciobius in southern Africa and the other involving terrestrial mammals in Mexico.
Results Nested clade analysis as applied to areas of endemism produced results similar to those of previous analyses of Sciobus in southern Africa. An analysis of terrestrial mammals in Mexico supports the designation of some biogeographical provinces as areas of endemism while suggesting that other provinces may comprise composite distributions that should be subdivided.
Main conclusions The nested clade analysis approach utilized primarily in genetic analysis of phylogeographical patterns in population biology studies can be adapted to understanding AoE in the realm of biogeography. This approach offers a statistical paradigm to evaluate AoE suggested by parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE) trees.