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Climatic niche conservatism and the evolutionary dynamics in species range boundaries: global congruence across mammals and amphibians

Authors

  • Miguel Á. Olalla-Tárraga,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK
    2. Department of Ecology, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871, Spain
      Miguel Á. Olalla-Tárraga and Lynsey McInnes, Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK.
      E-mail: miguel.olalla@uah.es; lynsey.mcinnes01@imperial.ac.uk
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    • The first two authors contributed equally to this work, so order of authorship was decided by the ‘coin-flip’ method.

  • Lynsey McInnes,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK
    2. Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK
      Miguel Á. Olalla-Tárraga and Lynsey McInnes, Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK.
      E-mail: miguel.olalla@uah.es; lynsey.mcinnes01@imperial.ac.uk
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    • The first two authors contributed equally to this work, so order of authorship was decided by the ‘coin-flip’ method.

  • Luis M. Bini,

    1. Departamento de Ecologia, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, CP 131, 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • José A. F. Diniz-Filho,

    1. Departamento de Ecologia, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, CP 131, 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • Susanne A. Fritz,

    1. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 København, Denmark
    2. Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), D-60325 Frankfurt (Main), Germany
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  • Bradford A. Hawkins,

    1. Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
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  • Joaquín Hortal,

    1. Departamento de Ecologia, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, CP 131, 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
    2. Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK
    3. Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, Madrid 28006, Spain
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  • C. David L. Orme,

    1. Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK
    2. Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK
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  • Carsten Rahbek,

    1. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 København, Denmark
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  • Miguel Á. Rodríguez,

    1. Department of Ecology, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871, Spain
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  • Andy Purvis

    1. Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK
    2. Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK
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Miguel Á. Olalla-Tárraga and Lynsey McInnes, Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK.
E-mail: miguel.olalla@uah.es; lynsey.mcinnes01@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim  Comparative evidence for phylogenetic niche conservatism – the tendency for lineages to retain their ancestral niches over long time scales – has so far been mixed, depending on spatial and taxonomic scale. We quantify and compare conservatism in the climatic factors defining range boundaries in extant continental mammals and amphibians in order to identify those factors that are most evolutionarily conserved, and thus hypothesized to have played a major role in determining the geographic distributions of many species. We also test whether amphibians show stronger signals of climatic niche conservatism, as expected from their greater physiological sensitivity and lower dispersal abilities.

Location  Global; continental land masses excluding Antarctica.

Methods  We used nearly complete global distributional databases to estimate the climatic niche conservatism in extant continental mammals and amphibians. We characterized the climatic niche of each species by using a suite of variables and separately investigate conservatism in each variable using both taxonomic and phylogenetic approaches. Finally, we explored the spatial, taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns in recent climatic niche evolution.

Results  Amphibians and mammals showed congruent patterns of conservatism in cold tolerance, with assemblages of escapee species (i.e. those escaping most from the climatic constraints of their ancestors) aggregated in the North Temperate Zone.

Main conclusions  The relative strength of climatic niche conservatism varies across the variables tested, but is strongest for cold tolerance in both mammals and amphibians. Despite the apparent conservatism in this variable, there is also a strong signal of recent evolutionary shifts in cold tolerance in assemblages inhabiting the North Temperate Zone. Our results thus indicate that distribution patterns of both taxa are influenced by both niche conservatism and niche evolution.

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